Friday, August 10, 2007

Here’s to Reaching Out

We go through life, not realizing the struggles and triumphs of those that have gone before us. Strong praise needs to go to Story Corps—maintained by the Library of Congress and presented each week by NPR.

Today, I listened to the story of Larry Young, who grew up a farmer’s son in Tennessee in the 1940’s. He decided he wanted to go to college, and with no help from his family, he went to the local college, threw two five dollar bills on the counter and asked to be admitted. The administrator questioned the self-described “country boy” on why he wanted to go to college—Mr. Young replied, "I plan to make something out of myself."

Eventually, he was brought to the Dean, who inquired if he knew how to drive a truck. He lied and said, “Yes.” “By the grace of God” he drove a garbage truck that paid his tuition.

No one knew he did not have a place to stay, so he found a spot in the dormitory, between two mattresses. When discovered, he was brought before a disciplinary committee—when they heard his story, they found him a place to stay. “And from that day forward, I never looked back.”

Eventually, he became the first African American director of food sanitation for Detroit Health Department, where he inspired others to reach farther.

Mr. Young’s story is just one of thousands available. But his exemplifies the beauty and simplicity of Story Corps: “I've always felt that, as long as I live, I was going to use my life to reach out and touch another life with hope.”

Listen here.

Some other Story Corps moments I’ve discovered:

Pancakes as A Message of Love (It's all about the love)

Daughter Who Changed Parent’s World (heartbreaking and sweet)

Pip and the Judge (one of my all-time favorite Story Corps items)

1 comment:

Michele said...

Hi Chris. Thank you for posting this. I've heard several Story Corps episodes on NPR but hadn't checked out the website. A new podcast to download! :-)