Virtual event benefiting U-M senior service programs seeks storytellers

A virtual storytelling event benefiting five University of Michigan Health System senior service programs is seeking story submissions on the topic of "generations."


Big Hearts for Seniors (BHS) is hosting the upcoming "Big Hearted Stories: Generations" event, taking place on May 27. BHS raises funds and awareness for U-M's Silver Club Programs, Ann Arbor Meals on Wheels, Housing Bureau for Seniors, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, and Turner Senior Wellness Program. Organizers will be accepting applications until Feb. 1 from anyone interested in sharing a personal story.


"The theme of generations will mean different things to different people, but it's something that connects all of us and that everyone can relate to," says Shannon Etcheverry, director of the Silver Club Programs. "That said, we're also hoping to attract some younger storytellers so that we can create a really rich experience for our audience."


Last year's Big Hearted Stories event saw over 800 registrants and over 500 households tuned in from around the world. The event has been running for about 15 years.


"Last year, between donations and a silent auction that is part of the event, we raised over $75,000," Etcheverry says. "This type of support is critical in helping older adults with things like housing security, lifeline learning, adult day services for people with dementia, and meal delivery."


Etcheverry says that while the impetus behind the fundraiser is based on supporting very "serious, important programs," the event will follow last year's model of "connection, entertainment, and fun," and the evening's featured storytellers will reflect that.


"Anyone who has a tale to tell about tradition, ancestors, or anything in between around the subject of generations, however they define it, should apply," she says. "It's a theme that we're convinced everyone can tap into, whether they are telling a story or listening to it."


More information and a storyteller application form can be found here. Last year's Big Hearted Stories event can be viewed here.


Jaishree Drepaul-Bruder is a freelance writer and editor currently based in Ann Arbor. She can be reached at


Photo courtesy of Big Hearts for Seniors.