Beyond My Years: A Journey into the Lives of Others

“Comfort comes from knowing that people have made the same journey. And solace comes from understanding how others have learned to sing again.”

– H Steiner Rice

February 28th, 2018 | (Two days before my project begins!)

Hello! My name is Lilian Fernandez, but everyone calls me Lili. I have been at Westtown since Kindergarten and am very excited to graduate with the Class of 2018 this Spring! For my Senior Project, I am staying close to home but not to comfort. I wanted to incorporate my passion for photography with my interest in uncovering the stories and wisdom of those who are older than me. I will be planting myself at Sunrise Senior Living of Granite Run, a senior living community in Media, PA, to do just that.

As a member of the Delaware County area, I have not fully immersed myself in this community, one that I have been apart of for my entire life. I am interested and want to give back to a community that has been part of my home by establishing relationships with individuals in the community at Sunrise Senior Living. I also hope to create relationships that I can return to in the future as well as leave the community with a physical representation of the stories and some of the members of their community. I am planning on using to create a photo/story book to present to the community after my time there. Throughout my posts, I will share quotes, photographs, and the experiences I have throughout my two weeks at the Sunrise community and the process of constructing a book.

During these weeks I will work purely off of my passions and interests. I enjoy photography and conversing with others and this project involves both aspects of communication and media. I will need to keep myself accountable for deadlines, timeliness, and challenges that may occur. Ultimately I hope to learn how to account for and establish my own role within a set schedule and uphold the promise of completion of this project.

Being from a younger generation, one of the interests that influenced this project is the possibilities of learning from the lives, journeys, and struggles of those older than me. My passion for archiving the stories of older generations has also stemmed from my hesitancy and discomfort to reach out and ask about my grandparents’ and great-grandmothers’ lives.

What drove me to create a project like this is the relationship I had with my great grandmothers’ and the stories that have been shared with me, but also the stories and experiences I was too young to know to ask about. I feel that I did not reach out enough to ask about their experiences, memories, or stories they find most prominent in their lives. Senior Projects provided the perfect format to educate and open myself up to others stories and to share the lives and interests of the members of the senior living community.

From experience, I have come to understand how providing space within a community can allow for unity and I hope that my project can do just that. I want to be a person the residents can be comfortable with sharing their stories and interests. And most importantly, I want to provide a space for many of those who are forgotten by their family members or have no one left to hear them and what makes them the person they are today.

So if you are interested in hearing the stories of others or my artistic process of portrait photography I hope you join me and some of the members of Sunrise Senior Living of Granite Run in this journey!

Lilian Fernandez

2 thoughts on “Beyond My Years: A Journey into the Lives of Others

  1. Sue Heckrotte

    Bravo, Lili. This project touches my heart. I wish joy to you and the lonely seniors who open themselves to you. (I’m a WT parent and grandparent. )

    1. Lili Fernandez

      Thank you so much, Sue! I will be posting shortly about the experience of my first day in the community. It was definitely a humbling experience.

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