LEADING LEGACIES: A SENIOR STORYTELLING PROJECT
This story-telling project engages seniors in the community through volunteerism, storytelling and sharing leadership experiences with emerging leaders. A committee of senior volunteers nominated and selected 13 senior prominent community leaders to share their leadership stories. The stories are featured in Leadership Victoria's ‘How I Did It’ podcast at in-person events as well as virtually.
The 13-story series is organized by a team of seniors responsible for recruiting storytellers from across Vancouver Island, as well as planning the producing the events. Our senior volunteers are committed to showcasing stories from senior leaders that actively represent women, Indigenous peoples and newcomers to Canada, while engaging actively in the community and working to reverse attitudes of discrimination and ageism.
This project is supported by New Horizons for Seniors Funding with key community partnerships at The Cook Street Activity Centre and Volunteer Victoria.
Holly Wright's Story
“Way back,” recalls Wright “a friend told me about this documentary called Young at Heart and it’s all about a fellow who starts a senior’s choir for people in a nursing home …. It is so touching. I remember when I saw it, I thought I’m going to do that one day. Little did I know some years later, I’ve moved to the island where there’s a very large senior’s population.”
Wright, who owns a café in Nanoose Bay with her partner, began to notice how many lonely people regularly visited the café. She recalled the documentary and decided to start a choir. She recently took the time to tell Leadership Victoria how she did it.
Growing the choir from “the sign in the café … was almost easy,” says Wright. “The trickier part was getting a band together because the choir was open to people who just wanted to be with other people and sing, but the band had to be professionals because I wanted a good solid band to support the choir.” Wright reached out to her musical connections and cajoled people out of retirement.
When running the choir, Wright is a quiet, gentle leader. When asked to describe her process for helping people understand their capacity, Wright states it’s the “opposite of persuasion [it’s about] being very gentle with people [and going] out of the way to make people feel comfortable. It’s okay if you’re not brilliant.”
Wright also observes that, “people find a lot more courage and strength when they’re with a group… All of a sudden, all these people who thought they couldn’t sing are singing and suddenly their confidence is boosted, and this little, tiny voice starts growing into a bigger voice ... and all of a sudden we’re on the biggest stage that Nanaimo has to offer and we’re selling it out in six days”.