March 16, 2011

Spotlight: Mandel School Program Captures Memories for Community

Teresa M. Green
Teresa M. Green

Everybody has a story, and thanks to Living Through Legacies, which creates memory books for local senior citizens, 90-year-old Bessie McClain and her family, including daughter Teresa M. Green, have a permanent record of hers.

Developed by alumnus David Harris during his field internship, Living Through Legacies is just one example of the unique initiatives that grow out of the Field Education program at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences. Field education has been part of the Mandel School’s core curriculum since 1915, and the school places graduate student interns like Harris at nearly 100 social agencies in Northeast Ohio every year. The partnerships prove mutually advantageous—the agencies benefit from the students’ work while the students gain valuable hands-on experience.

McClain’s daughter, retired Cleveland teacher Green, was visiting her mother at East Cleveland’s McGregor Home in the fall of 2009 when Harris gave a presentation about his program. Thinking her mother would enjoy the chance to share her stories, Green applied.

Two Case Western Reserve students interviewed McClain, while Green and the rest of the family dug up more than 75 photos. The resulting book is a collection of treasured memories, from McClain’s childhood to her first job at the Atlantic Seafood company in her hometown of Huntington, WVa., to her advice on parenting and the value of education.

“I was just enthralled by it,” Green said of the book.

For her mother, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2000, the book provides a tangible link to a lifetime of memories. For the rest of the family, it’s a portrait of a family matriarch that future generations can cherish, even if they never got the chance to hear her stories in person.

Posted by: Emily Mayock, March 16, 2011 09:28 AM | News Topics: Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences

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