Last fall, nearly 100 older residents of the Dayton area shared their unique memories, opinions and experiences in the Senior Voices project, organized by the Dayton Metro Library, WYSO Public Radio and Rebuilding Together Dayton. Their recorded stories will begin airing weekly on WYSO 91.3 FM starting February 28. Full, unedited interviews will be archived and available to the public on the Library’s website, DaytonMetroLibrary.org.
Thirty-four people were trained to collect and record stories; they conducted interviews from August to December, 2017. Conversations took place in area libraries, community centers, and in the homes of seniors who participated in the Rebuilding Together Dayton Fixit Kit program.
"All of our homeowners have a story to share," said Amy Radachi, President/CEO of Rebuilding Together Dayton. “When they allow us into their homes to make repairs and modifications, they offer us a unique glimpse into what makes Dayton such a wonderful community.”
WYSO Community Voices producer Jocelyn Robinson is the Project Coordinator for the station and is working with several other WYSO producers to create short radio features based on the interviews. The stories will air during All Things Considered on Wednesday afternoons, and Thursdays during Morning Edition, at 91.3 FM. They will also be aired on WYSO Weekend, the station’s public affairs show, Sundays at 10:00 a.m. All the radio stories will be available on wyso.org after they air.
“WYSO is pleased to bring its storytelling expertise to this important community-wide project,” said Neenah Ellis, WYSO General Manager. “Many of the stories are told by residents of Dayton’s west side, which is rich with great storytellers. These voices tell of our shared history and our need to earn from the past.”
The full, unedited interviews will be available at the Dayton Metro Library’s Digital Archive, “Dayton Remembers.”
“This is a new area of historical preservation for the Library,” said Jamie McQuinn, Special Collections Manager. “In the past we have digitized photographs, newspapers and manuscripts. With this project, the Library is helping to preserve the actual voices of experienced Daytonians. These recordings will be of great value to scholars and researchers in the years to come as they study and write about Dayton in the 20th Century.”
The “Dayton Remembers” archive, which also includes vintage photographs, Wright Brothers Newspapers, yearbooks, and other local history items, is available 24/7 at DaytonMetroLibrary.org.
The Senior Voices collaboration was supported by a Del Mar Social Innovation Award for Older Adult Programming from The Dayton Foundation’s DMH-Fund. The award recognizes innovations from area nonprofits that are working to address issues faced by older adults.
“To hear these seniors talk of schools, neighborhoods, and retail establishments that existed as part of the fabric of Dayton history was a pleasure,” said Jennifer Hicks, Older Adult Services Librarian. “The schools may be torn down, neighborhoods changed, businesses come and gone, and life difficult at times, but not their appreciation for life in Dayton or their love of family.”
For more information on the Senior Voices project, call the Library at 937.463.2665 or WYSO Radio at 937.767.6420.