Scott Bendler, Susan Larson, and Carrie Tracy
"Life Stories: An Intergenerational Project" is a program developed by Bendler, Larson and Tracy that promotes youth development through service learning. Students at Bryan Community High School are paired with elder partners from the community based on the elders' hobbies and interests. The students meet with their partners weekly to build positive relationships and gather information about them. Each elder provides photographs that represent their life along with a written description of each image. Students then modify the written descriptions into scripts from which the elder, in his or her own voice, records their life story. Using iLife software, each student creates an iMovie that results in a documentary-style film about the elder's life. The goals of the program are for students to apply technology, critical thinking, and communication skills, learn the importance of volunteerism and develop a sense of empowerment. The "Life Stories" project has changed opinions and eliminated stereotypes for both the elders and the students. According to the teachers, by airing the students' documentaries on a local public access channel, the students have come to realize the powerful effect of storytelling using media and are making great strides in bridging the generation gap.