Big Hearts for Seniors to host virtual storytelling, silent auction to benefit Ann Arbor programs

Online auction extends through Aug. 7

Authors Betty Brown-Chappell and Breeda Miller will be two of the six storytellers at the virtual Big Hearts for Seniors event on July 30. Photos courtesy of Big Hearts for Seniors. (Betty Brown-Chappell/Breeda Miller)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – On July 30, the Big Hearts for Seniors annual benefit event will be held online with storytelling and a virtual silent auction to support five Michigan Medicine community programs that serve adults.

Starting at 7 p.m., six storytellers from around Michigan will share their experiences and stories about different aspects of aging.

Stories range from the influences of aging gracefully and learning to sing later in life to making connections to younger selves.

“When I heard about the Big Hearted Stories event, I immediately knew that I wanted to tell of a person who, though no longer among us, lives large in my life,” storyteller Roger Parker said about the central figure of his story. “Whenever I tell about Ed Cox, he lives again for me; and I am blessed again.”

This year, the storytellers are authors Betty Brown-Chappell and Breeda Miller, playwright and actor Marc Holland, Margaret Flannery, Roger Parker and CarolynRose Stone.

University of Michigan School of Public Health professor and Kumanu, Inc. founder Victor J. Strecher will act as emcee.

“So often we think of aging as a problem. Our stories can help us see the enormous contributions that older people can make in our lives. That’s what I’m telling my story -- to share,” said Parker.

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Sharing stories is not new for some of the speakers, but for some, the event is a new experience.

Speaker Margaret Flannery said, “Story-telling is a new experience for me and I thought I would learn something and have a new experience. I wanted to tell this story because it is a fun story about an adventure.”

The evening event will benefit the Ann Arbor Meals on Wheels, Housing Bureau for Seniors, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Silver Club Memory Programs, and the Turner Senior Wellness Program.

To support the five programs, community members can bid on items in a silent auction from July 23 to Aug. 7. Auction items include gift cards to Ann Arbor area restaurants and shops, jewelry, golf packages, artwork and tickets to the Henry Ford Museum.

Silent audition items will be available here until Aug.7.

Originally set for May, the “Big Hearted Stories: Experiences of Aging” event was postponed and moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Registration for the event is free but community members can make donations as they register.

Learn more about the Big Hearted Stories storytellers and register here.

About the Author:

Sarah has worked for WDIV since June 2018. She covers community events, good eats and small businesses in Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Grand Valley State University.