By morning, the fireflies had vanished. 

SBYF workshops typically last about 90 minutes.  I begin by introducing myself and the project, then I read my “Spaces Between Your Fingers” story.  The story bridges into a discussion of wisdom: what it is, where it comes from, how it’s passed between generations. 

The discussion is the most important part.  Really, it’s just people in a room talking.  We walk in as strangers, but by the end we could be a family, sitting aroung the dinner table.  No one’s interested in an abstract, philosophical discussion of wisdom, either.  No!  We start with our varied experiences and backgrounds.  You can imagine the incredible stories that come out. 
This is my favorite part: when I can just listen. 

As the discussion wraps up (it never really ends) we transition to the making of the SBYF cards.  The idea is to take what we’ve just been talking about – all those incredible experiences – and mine out some advice they’d like to leave for the next generation. 
The workshop included both Alzheimer’s afflicted individuals, and caregivers.
Later in the afternoon, we ran a second workshop at a nearby independent living residence.  These participants didn’t have Alzheimer’s…but they had plenty of stories to share. 
You’ll see these cards in the book someday. 
Thanks so much to Eric VanVlymen and all the incredible people at the Miami Valley Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association for being such wonderful hosts, and to Eva at One Lincoln Park. 
Photos by Andrew Christiano

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