Why Your LifeStories are Priceless

Why Steven Spielberg founded The Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation http://college.usc.edu/vhi/, the project that captured and preserved the stories of 52,000 Holocaust survivors, may seem obvious. But when he started the project, I’m sure he didn’t foresee the residual, and arguably the most powerful, effect – the identification and connection of an entire culture to future generations. I saw a glimpse of this with the survivors I interviewed for the project here in Texas. As the survivors poured their hearts out while telling their story, I saw magical things happening. I saw uncorked emotion emit from their words; willingness to share their souls with the world; unintentional connections being made as they spoke, not just to their families, but to humanity at large. And as I continued to marvel at their stories, I realized the power of all of life’s stories. I realized quickly that you don’t have to have survived the Holocaust to make an incredible impact on the life of another person. Who we are is defined by the life stories we tell.

But how are we capturing our stories? How can I let my newfound knowledge of the power of our stories lay at rest with a single project? While the Shoah Foundation and its incredible educational work since the interviews ended are valuable, the life stories of everyday people hold within them life-changing possibilities for the rest of the world. That is why I started LifeStories Alive http://www.lifestoriesalive.com/.