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Everyone's Story Matters: Residents Build Connections with Boston Students

Posted: December 15, 2017

A group of high school students from the Boston Community Leadership Academy visited JCHE’s Golda Meir House on Friday, December 15 to collect and share stories. BCLA is a Boston public school which focuses on developing future scholars and leaders through community service, and adherence to rigorous academic, social and civic expectations. 

Their project at Golda was inspired by StoryCorps, a non-profit most well-known for its segments on NPR radio which presents stories of the human heart – candid, unscripted conversation between two people about what’s really important in life: love, loss, family, friendship. Friday’s topic was “memorable people who had a lasting impact on one’s life.”

After watching a short video about a strict but inspirational Sunday school teacher—Miss Devine—students and residents broke up into small groups to chat about the “Miss Devines” in their lives.

Despite differences in age and backgrounds, residents and students seemed to connect effortlessly, eagerly swapping stories that touched on many meaningful facets of their lives.

After hearing one resident’s story about her grandfather who had helped invent an auxiliary pump for the U.S. Navy, one student shared that he wanted to be a professor and a writer who drives meaningful social change—a social inventor of sorts.   

Another student identified with Miss Devine because she also grew up in a very religious household in which, she mused, Sunday School attendance was nonnegotiable. This prompted a resident to talk about her Jewish faith and explain the significance of Shabbat.     

One resident recalled how her fifth grade teacher helped her overcome shyness by encouraging her to participate in debates. “It was such a valuable experience, and it helped me develop the confidence I needed to be successful,” she acknowledged.

Another pair discovered they both had older sisters who they considered their best friends and influential mentors.

When the students were ready to leave, one resident crystalized the affectionate atmosphere permeating the cafeteria by shouting, “come back soon!”

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