MINNEAPOLIS — An oral history project is looking to work with University of Minnesota students to interview elders in the area and create personal historical accounts of life in southeast Minneapolis neighborhoods.
The Southeast Seniors group is organizing the Neighborhood Memories project, which will include stories from seniors in Como, Marcy-Holmes and Prospect Park, Minnesota Daily reported . Project officials hope the reflections preserve the elders' experiences and create a sense of community for residents.
Prospect Park resident Florence Littman said she hopes to participate in the project. She said she believes it's important that residents learn the history of the area as it changes.
"If you know your neighbor, it makes for a strong community," Littman said. "I think those who read them will say well maybe I should go out and try and meet my next door neighbors."
Southeast Seniors hopes to recruit students to help with the project near the end of August through its Connection Club, which partners students with an older resident, said Lydia McAnerney, the organization's volunteer coordinator.
University student Julia Turnbow has been a part of the Connection Club for years. The club has been a way to meet a new friend despite the age gap, she said.
"The way we treat aging is not very good," Turnbow said. "It seems like Southeast Seniors was taking a really cool grassroots approach to making it easier to get older."
Turnbow has attended training sessions to prepare for the fall oral history project.
"I just can't wait to see more of that richness in the people that live around me," she said.
Southeast Seniors has a professional oral historian help train and support volunteers. The group also has a transcriptionist record the stories after they've been collected.
The stories will then be archived at the Hennepin History Museum. The project will also be distributed as a printed book with photos in the neighborhoods.