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Mayor's Office

2006 Media Releases


Date:
June 28, 2006
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831
Candy Beach, AmeriCorps Oral History Project, 441-4911


"STAR CITY TREASURES" PROJECT CAPTURING ORAL HISTORIES

Mayor Coleen J. Seng will unveil the Star City Treasures Oral History Project at a breakfast at 8 a.m. Thursday, June 29 at the “F” Street Recreation Center, 1225 “F” Street. The project is an effort to record stories of today’s city residents to share with others now and in the future.

“Lincoln is an international city, where people from many different countries live, work and study,” said Mayor Seng. “I want to thank those who are willing to tell us their stories so future generations can learn more about the spirit of the people who live in Lincoln today.”

Star City Treasures is an AmeriCorps project funded through the Corporation for National and Community Service and administered by the Nebraska Volunteer Service Commission and the City Parks and Recreation Department.

City AmeriCorps Oral History Project Coordinator Candy Beach said the City commissioned a similar project 25 years ago. At that time, neighborhood volunteers interviewed older residents, and the recordings are stored at the Nebraska State Historical Society (NSHS). Beach said most of the 200 individual stories recorded through the previous project came from Volga Germans, who described how their families came to Lincoln as well as school and church activities, traditions, holidays and life in Lincoln. City Parks and Recreation Manager Sandy Myers proposed the idea of the current project while researching her own family history.

“The last two and half decades have brought more than 30,000 refugees and immigrants to be resettled in Lincoln,” said Beach. “Their life experiences are unique. Documenting some of their oral histories allows us as a community to learn about the larger world – a world that often times is filled with tragic separations of families, the deaths of beloved relatives, perseverance in the face of war, ethnic cleansing, famine, disease and man’s inhumanity to man.”

Through the oral history project, AmeriCorps members identify Star City Treasures – individuals and families with compelling life stories. About 25 subjects will be selected, interviewed, photographed and recorded. Their stories will be available through the City Web site, lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: library) and eventually archived at the NSHS.

One of the stories is that of Hoa Tran, who escaped South Vietnam the day before the fall of Saigon in 1975. He escaped on a fishing boat and was later rescued by the U.S. Navy. Once in the U.S., he moved to Lincoln to join other family members. Here, he has obtained citizenship, married and raised a family. He works as a translator and liaison for Lincoln Public Schools.

More information on the oral history project is available by contacting Beach at 441-4911.

The City manages 19 full-time AmeriCorps members and numerous part-time members. Half of the members are assigned to minority-based community centers, the Lincoln Literacy Council and the Lincoln Arts Council. The remaining members work at City Recreation Centers and Community Learning Centers. Members work with minority and low-income children and their families, providing after-school academic support, holistic family services and recreational opportunities. More than 1,000 children receive services annually.


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