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  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                       CONTACTS:   

    Feb. 3, 2008                                                                     Adena, cell 310.916.8408 /

                                                                                               Ina, cell 310.471.5048 /


Generation to Generation at UCLA Pairs with Pawpress’ Memoir Writing Expert Ina Hillebrandt to Provide New Program:  The Living History Project at UCLA

Program Is Aimed At Improving Understanding and Communication Across Generations

February 3, 2007, Los Angeles. Beginning February 6 and meeting weekly through March 9, The Living History Project at UCLA is bringing students from the UCLA Center for Community Learning together with seniors from memoir writing expert Ina Hillebrandt’s classes. The seniors, colorful story tellers who come originally from a range of continents and backgrounds, will be sharing their life histories, both in oral and written form. The process will serve as a means for bridging the generation gap by enhancing understanding between students and the elder generation. Seniors’ stories and the students’ own reactions, in terms of any meaningful life lessons, increased understanding of the needs of older citizens - - and vice versa - - will be recorded. Plans include a student-created website, a book and video for the site to provide a means for people outside the class to enjoy the stories and benefit from the information that emerges.

Conceived by UCLA student Adena Schutzman, who founded the project Generation to Generation at UCLA, and co-designed by memoir and creative writing expert Hillebrandt, the Living History Project at UCLA will provide students with ample opportunities to both hear the seniors’ stories and to discuss them in small groups with their elders. As part of their community service course credit, students will be helping seniors in several ways. First, they will serve as an audience, which is rewarding for the seniors. More concretely, the students will also write up notes of stories yet unwritten by the seniors and provide these notes to the writers to develop for print later. The students will also record their own reactions to what they hear.

The senior participants are writers who have been working with Hillebrandt for a year or more. Many have been published in one or more of the class’ books, “Stories From The Heart.” Vol. 2 was named a top seller by, and Vol.4 is due out in 2008.

When asked why she thought of this project, Schutzman said, “I’ve always wanted to get young people to know more about what older people really are like, to get rid of the negative stereotypes. A lot of seniors are lively, not the bent, crotchety creatures young people often think of when they think of the elderly, and they've lived lives spanning interesting times and people. We feel that the students will be able to gain information about the true nature of the older generation, and to learn life lessons as well. This program was made possible by a generous grant from the Donald A. Strauss Foundation. We are grateful also for support from the Hillel at UCLA, Kathy O’Bryne, Director of the UCLA Center for Community Learning, and Ellen Gaines, Director of the Felicia Mahood Senior Multipurpose Center of The City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks.”

Hillebrandt adds, “I am really excited about this project. ‘Some of my best friends’ are at or near 100 years old. Have they got stories! This is a great opportunity to show the seniors kids are not all ‘whippersnappers,’ and show the kids that they do not have to shout at old folks to be heard, or talk slowly to them as if they were children – something I learned really ticks off
older people in studies I conducted before I was one, in my former life as a Fortune 500 consultant.”                                                                                                           

The program begins with an orientation session Wednesday, February 6, 2008. Students will be meeting from 1:00 – 4:00 pm. Seniors will join the group from 2:00-3:30. The group will meet every Wed. through March 5. The final session will culminate in a celebration and sharing of writings by the students as well as the seniors.

Hillel House UCLA is generously donating space in their facility across from the faculty center on Hilgard for the series. The Felicia Mahood Senior Center is donating transportation to and from Hillel House, in addition to providing facilities for ongoing senior writing classes.

MEDIA: Adena, Ina and Ina’s Writing Club senior authors are available for interviews. Photos available upon request. Phone contact for Ina 310.471.5048, for Adena 310.916.8408.    

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