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Ohio Department of Aging Press Release

June 10, 2010

Ohio Department of Aging Receives National Recognition for Great Depression Story Project

Online Collection of Ohioans' Memories Named 'Notable Government Document'

COLUMBUS - The professional publication, Library Journal, has named the Ohio Department of Aging's Great Depression Story Project a "Notable Government Document" for 2009. The online collection of excerpts from stories submitted by older Ohioans was one of two Ohio documents on the journal's list of 39 distinguished state, federal and international electronic and print publications. The journal describes the stories as "always interesting, sometimes poignant and occasionally unforgettable."

"We set out to gather recollections and lessons from a generation that has seen it all - prosperity and poverty, war and peace, kindness and cruelty - in hopes their stories may help younger generations," said Barbara E. Riley, director of the department. "Their tales were informative and inspirational, and we are pleased that they are receiving national attention and recognition."

In March, 2009, the department issued a news release asking Ohioans to submit their recollections from the Great Depression so that the sacrifices they made and the lessons they learned may be shared with other generations currently facing tough economic times. The department collected 313 stories from people in 54 Ohio counties, as well as six individuals from out of state who used to reside in Ohio. The average age of those submitting stories was 85. The oldest subject was 103, the youngest 64.

Nearly 1,000 excerpts from those stories were posted to the department's Web site (www.aging.ohio.gov/news/greatdepressionstoryproject/) last fall. They present a diverse range of topics from food and clothing to employment, home life and differences between then and today. The most common theme throughout the stories was that people, families and neighborhoods of that era seemed much more self-sufficient and connected as communities than we are today.

The idea for the project was suggested to the department by Frances Strickland, First Lady of Ohio. Staff from the State Library of Ohio submitted the project to Library Journal for consideration. One other Ohio publication, "Explore the Lake Erie Islands: A Guide to Nature and History Along the Lake Erie Coastal Ohio Trail," published by the Lake Erie Coastal Ohio Trail National Scenic Byway, Ohio Chapter of The Nature Conservancy and Ohio Sea Grant, was the only other Ohio document to make the list. The full list is available at www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6727891.html.

About ODA

The Ohio Department of Aging provides leadership for the delivery of services and supports that improve and promote quality of life and personal choice for older Ohioans, adults with disabilities, their families and their caregivers. Working with 12 area agencies on aging and other community partners, the department offers home- and community-based Medicaid waiver programs such as PASSPORT, the long-term care ombudsman program, the Golden Buckeye Card and more. Visit www.aging.ohio.gov.