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Document family history with free writing workshop

URBANA, Ill. – Family stories are gifts from one generation to the next. Keep those stories alive with a little help from the Life’s Moments - From Memory to Legacy writing workshop launching May 5.

In this fun and interactive virtual series, the University of Illinois Extension Family Life team will help you document your life story with writing prompts, exercises to trigger memories, and breakout sessions.

“It’s kind of like a quilt,” said Chelsey Byers, Illinois Extension family life educator and workshop presenter. “By the end of the series, you will have a bunch of quilt pieces done and lots of ideas to continue writing.”

While people are practicing physical distancing during the COVID-19 outbreak, sharing stories can keep families connected, says Byers. Technology makes historical information available with the click of a button, but many adults don’t know their own family history.

“A lot of times people don’t know who their parents were before they came into the picture,” Byers says. “It opens a whole new world to us, and we can learn so much from the life our parents and grandparents lived.”

The writing process can also be therapeutic for people as they reflect on their lives. “If there was something that was unsettled, they find peace with it when they write it,” Byers says. “I’ve had past participants write something and tear it up saying they’re done with it now.”

No prior writing experience is needed. Participants will write at their own pace using whatever tools they prefer, pen and paper or a computer.

“That’s one thing we find people are nervous about,” Byers says, “but we’re not grading grammar or worried about their level of education. This for them and their families." 

This eight-session virtual workshop is free and will take place 11 a.m. to noon Tuesdays and Thursdays starting May 5. Sign up in advance online. For a list of upcoming Illinois Extension webinars on a variety of topics, visit our Digital Webinars and Trainings website.

If you have any questions or need more information, please contact Family Life educators Chelsey Byers or Molly Hofer. Presenters will also include Illinois Extension educators Karla Belzer, Cheri Burcham, and Tessa Hobbs-Curley.

University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in programming, contact the presenters. Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time for meeting your needs.

SourceChelsey Byers, Family Life Educator, Illinois Extension
WriterEmily Steele, Media Communications Coordinator, Illinois Extension