Kat (right) at an SBYF writing workshop.

Kat (right) at an SBYF writing workshop.

We asked our Junior Memory Collectors to pause and reflect at the halfway point (10 weeks) of their work with SBYF.  Today, Katarina Kapetanakis.

It’s only been about ten weeks since I started working with the SBYF Project, but in that short time I feel that it has already been an incredible experience.

I first decided to start working with SBYF because I wanted to help other people share their stories. Stories have been an inherent part of my life, as I’m sure they have been for almost everyone. Some of my favorite memories are of my mom telling me about the many misadventures of the cats she owned growing up, or of the pranks my dad pulled when he was a teenager. I know how important it is to share these stories, and I know even better how it’s in our nature to need to tell them.

When I first started interviewing, I was surprised by how many people thought their lives weren’t very interesting at all. One woman I talked to flat out told me, “There’s nothing worth telling.” At first that scared me a little, (after all, how was I supposed to write anything if she didn’t think there was anything to tell me?), but I told her that I wanted to hear about her life anyway. I started with the small questions: where were you born? What was your town like? What were your parents like?  I think we talked for a good hour, and by the end of it, those little questions had branched out into dozens of little stories that were incredibly fascinating. They were experiences that were unique to her, that she passed off as normal and mundane because to her, it was all run-of-the-mill stuff. To me, an outsider, she was one of the most interesting people I had ever spoken to.

That’s one of the great things that SBYF has done for me: It’s helped me to look at people on the street not as anonymous faces that don’t matter or touch me in anyway, but instead to see the giant web of stories behind them. Everyone’s story matters, and everyone deserves the chance to share it. Even if they don’t know it yet.

I’m so glad that I’m helping out with this project. I feel that I wouldn’t have been able to have as much of an enriching experience anywhere else. It’s only been a few weeks but I feel as if I’ve learned something important about people as a whole: There’s only one story, but each of us gets to tell it in our own way and in our own experiences.


Do you value reflection, connection, and imagination?  Do you love stories?  Want to get involved?  Contact us and we’ll help you start discovering and documenting the amazing stories all around you. 


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