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Virtual fundraiser for Michigan Medicine programs Big Hearts for Seniors to feature storytelling

Event now in its 16th year

Former U-M Men's Basketball head coach John Beilein will be a special guest at the May 27 event.
Former U-M Men's Basketball head coach John Beilein will be a special guest at the May 27 event. (University of Michigan)

ANN ARBOR – The annual Big Hearts for Seniors fundraiser returns on May 27 to benefit five Michigan Medicine Geriatrics Center and Community Health Services programs.

The theme of this year’s digital event is Generations. It is free to attend and will feature several local storytellers as they share stories about their life experiences and generational connections.

Special guests include emcee and professor at U-M’s School of Public Health Vic Strecher and former U-M Men’s Basketball head coach John Beilein.

“Big Hearts for Seniors is an inspiring event showcasing some of the best storytellers in Michigan who donate their times and talents to raise money and awareness for five vital community programs serving older adults in our area,” Big Hearts for Seniors Co-Chair, Assistant Director Geriatrics Center Community Programs and Director of the Turner Senior Wellness Program Jennifer Howard said in a release.

Emcee and storytellers for the 2021 Big Hearts for Seniors event. (University of Michigan)

The five community programs include:

  • Ann Arbor Meals on Wheels
  • Housing Bureau for Seniors
  • Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
  • Silver Club Memory Programs
  • Turner Senior Wellness Program

Licensed psychologist and storyteller Margarita Gurri, who will share stories of growing up in Fidel Castro’s Cuba, said the event has had a profound impact on her.

“Generations as a theme formed a powerful context yielding courageous stories to be honed and told powerfully and meaningfully,” Gurri said in a release. “Storytelling to support community is what generations is all about.

“Big Hearted Stories: Generations was life changing. Never had I thought of myself as a storyteller and would never have dreamed of entering a storytelling event as a storyteller.”

Journalist, advocate and author Tuyishime Claire Gasamagera will also be speaking at Big Hearted Stories.

“We are not the physical body we are a set of stories from our ancestors,” said Gasamagera in a release. “Storytelling helps us connect with the past and project us in the future. Storytelling helps us process the world around us.”

The event will kick off at 7 p.m. To register, click here.

A silent auction featuring gift cards from local businesses, art, jewelry and more will run from May 20-June 3.

For more information, visit the Big Hearts for Seniors website.

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.