Neighborhood Threads: Seeking stories from older residents who grew up in Oklahoma City
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Published: 25-Nov-2020



Communications staff members for the City of Oklahoma City are touting a new effort to gather stories from older residents. According to a press release sent to The City Sentinel and other news organizations, “A project to capture the everyday stories about growing up in Oklahoma City provides the perfect opportunity during the holiday season to provide much-needed interaction with older adults you know.”

The release, circulated in the days before Thanksgiving 2020, continued: “Neighborhood Theads, an OKC  Innovation Lab project, is looking to thread individual memories from older Oklahoma City residents into a broader story of what it was like growing up across our community.

(Links: https://sites.google.com/view/neighborhoodthreads/home
and https://sites.google.com/view/okcinnovationlab/home)

“Everyone has been impacted by this pandemic, but older adults in our community who are at higher risk are feeling the effects of isolation the most,” said Zach Nash, project manager for the Innovation Lab. “This project not only will provide them with much-needed social interactions, but it will also help preserve their stories, which is the story of Oklahoma City.”

The city government release continued, “We’re looking for stories from residents from every walk of life, to paint a vivid picture of everyday experiences, triumphs and struggles through their eyes. It’s a useful exercise for educating everyone now, and preserving our shared history for future generations.
“The holidays are a good window of opportunity to reach out, and an important time for human connection for everyone. By asking someone you care about to share stories, you’re supporting each other during a uniquely challenging and isolating time in all of our lives.”

How to share a story

The communications staff described both on-line and traditional ways for Oklahoma City’s senior citizens to share their experiences. Readers can visit okc.gov/threads for the latest Neighborhood Threads information.

Getting started: “Start by thinking of close family members, friends and neighbors who grew up in Oklahoma City. Ask them to share their story. You can record a phone or video call, or record a Zoom meeting. You can also take notes from any interaction with an older adult in your life, or ask them to write their story down if that’s what they prefer. For stories written down, submit them using this link (https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSctdNjPS4hPOWWIe2nRF2LDNOx3osTOFqur-eouzCd3xxkJ8g/viewform). 

Alternatively, send via email to public.information@okc.gov  . To transit information and stories by U.S. mail:
 
City of OKC Neighborhood Threads
200 N Walker Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK 73102

To submit video or audio recordings, first upload the video or audio file to YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/)
or a similar platform. Then email the link to public.information@okc.gov.

If you have another way to share a story, send ideas to the public information or staff or to the people working with the Innovation Lab. 

About the OKC Innovation Lab

The OKC Innovation Lab (https://sites.google.com/view/okcinnovationlab/home) is a group of 12 employees of the city of Oklahoma City, along with two leadership sponsors ( https://sites.google.com/view/okcinnovationlab/our-team), learning new methods to guide and implement people-centered innovation in local government.

Staff works with the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative (https://www.cityleadership.harvard.edu/), 
the Centre for Public Impact (https://www.centreforpublicimpact.org/) and a design coach to learn effective ways to tackle problems by putting residents at the center of designing and testing new ideas.
Visit okc.gov/innovation for more.

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