RANCHO SANTA FE — The month of May not only means springtime, but also an opportunity for people to be proactive in learning about themselves and family members during Personal History Awareness Month.
The RSF Senior Center decided it was a perfect opportunity to bring Debbie Broida, a personal historian onboard, to guide seniors through her very unique program, Memory Magic. In essence, Broida’s passion is to help people exercise their memories by having them think about past experiences which paint a picture of who they are.
And for many, this could be the start of creating their personal memoir.
“A memoir is more than just facts and people don’t have to be intimidated by not being a formal and bona fide writer in order to write a memoir,” Broida said. “All people need is their personal experiences and stories.”
Broida’s plan is to have participants get into a group setting and start sharing stories, describing the experience as a wonderful community building scenario as well as a fun one. She’ll also utilize different props to jar memories such as electric rollers, the original alarm clock before it went digital, a clothesline, and various fragrances which may spur a recollection.
These group sessions and storytelling time can actually trigger recall.
“My ultimate goal is that I am able to help people find three, four or five memories that they are interested in turning into stories and getting away from thinking that it has to be formal,” Broida said. She continued, “I want them to share their stories, as if they were telling them to their grandchildren while they were tucking them into bed at night.”
This is the first time Broida has brought Memory Magic to the RSF Senior Center and is looking forward to helping people realize that they do have stories that can be saved forever.
“There have been studies that children who know about their ancestors have higher self-esteem than those who don’t — your grandkids and great grandkids will know who you really are,” she said.
Sharon Wax has worked with Broida and said she provided her exactly what she needed.
“Debbie offers an incredible opportunity for anyone to express themselves and be able to pass on their essence to their loved ones,” Wax said. “I’m excited for Debbie, and think it’s great that she’s providing such a valuable service to our community.”
The Memory Magic kickoff date is May 7 and will last four weeks. These afternoon Wednesday meetings last for two hours and they are free.
And for those who may be apprehensive about not being a writer, Broida wants people to know it’s not important. Everyone has an interesting story to share, and to approach the writing as if one was having a conversation with someone special.
“Your family wants to hear these stories and it’s great to leave them a legacy,” she said.
To learn more about Memory Magic at the RSF Senior Center, please call (858) 756-3041.