Sara will never forget the first time she visited Israel.

Writing Memories

Our Team 

Our Project
We talk to seniors from our community and ask them about their lives and their stories. We conduct one interview section from September to November and another from January to March. The narratives are then weaved into beautiful books of memoirs.

Coming Event

On Thursday, 7th of March 2019, join us for a beautiful evening of music and stories. CYLA's 6th Annual Charity Concert will directly support the publication of our book of memoirs. The concert will take place at Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School (7055 Heather St, Vancouver) and will begin at 7pm, with the doors opening at 6:30pm. Tickets can be purchased at the door. Come support our project and experience for yourself the magic of memoirs!

More information about this:

​​Past Events

5th Annual Charity Concert

On the 1st of March 2018, we hosted our 5th Annual Charity Concert. This year’s concert was a meaningful evening to all. 

Some Words from the concert: 

Selected Excerpts from Our Coming Book

​Who We Are
UBC undergraduate students eager to discover stories from a time before our own.

Benefits to the Seniors

This project is an opportunity for seniors to share their stories and to preserve their memories for their families and for their community. It is a chance to conserve the details as they remember them and to pass on their lessons. Interviews are joyous moments of conversation and companionship between elders and students.

Al Munro, one of our very first participants, defined his experience with Writing Memories in these words: “I must say, the idea of relating personal experiences was both intriguing and  potentially very self-fulfilling. Here was a chance to relive all those moments that we all think about from time to time but never actually get the chance to speak about. My experiences with Nabila as an interviewer became, over the many weeks, extremely meaningful to me as we spoke and she recorded my memories. I was able to recall, at her prodding, dates that I had to dig out of old flying logs etc., bringing  back a flood of forgotten incidents, stories and people, some with extremely deep and profound emotional implications. This has been a very important event for me, one I highly recommend to others of my "vintage". Where else can you relive those  olden days and have them recorded for posterity?”

If you are a senior who would like to be a part of this project, please email us at

Contribution to Our Community
We have much to learn from the stories of the seniors who have lived in and built our community. Their stories can teach us about our own past and about the different life secrets that they have uncovered throughout their lives. Their narratives are powerful and ought to be respected. We all lose when such valuable lessons are forgotten and that is why we want to write their memories.

The Value of Volunteering
Volunteers form meaningful connections with seniors and become a part of a project that creates a real impact on our community. It is an opportunity to gain valuable experience in interviewing and writing, as well as in working with seniors, which can be greatly beneficial to those interested in pursuing a variety of careers. You can become a published author and contribute to a lasting legacy. If you would like to be a volunteer, please see the form below.

How It Works
We work in group of approximately eight volunteers. This project involves a medium time commitment of about 3 hours per week. Each volunteer talks with one senior for around an hour per week and writes down the senior’s narratives. Section 1 (Sept-Nov) happens with one group of seniors and Section 2 (Jan-Mar) with another group of seniors. We have regular group meetings and writing circles to discuss the progress of the interviews and the writing of the stories. Volunteers are expected to work on building their story throughout the term. Our timeline follows UBC’s academic calendar with no meetings scheduled during breaks, exam weeks, or the last week of classes of each term. Volunteers need to commit for the entire term.

Tentative Timeline 2018-2019
Sept 10-16: Volunteer Orientation Session 
Sept 17-Nov 25: Weekly Interviews Section 1

Nov 26-Jan 6: Winter Break

Jan 7-13: Volunteer Orientation Session 
Jan 14- Mar 31: Weekly Interviews Section 2

May - August: Editing of the Stories and Preparation for Publication

Interested in Being a Volunteer?
If you would like to be a volunteer, please email us at answering the questions below. We are accepting Section 2 volunteer applications until December 22nd.

Phone Number:

Why would like to be a part of this project? Please also mention any relevant experience or skills you might have. (300-500 words)

If you were interviewing a senior, what questions would you ask? What do you think are the most important and interesting pieces of information to find out? (150-250 words)

Please also include a two page double-spaced writing excerpt. A sample of creative writing (fiction or nonfiction) is preferred, but if you don't have one, an essay can also be accepted.

One of Al Munro's funny childhood memories.

Betty's resilience through tragic events.

Jony Macdougall had her share of childhood adventures in Germany after immigrating as a Lithuanian refugee.

CYLA President, Simon Krakovsky, discusses his grandmother's story and her experience in Writing Memories.

Rhonda Lakowski meets her husband's family of 16 siblings.

Writing Memories Director, Helena Almeida, talks about how the project began.

A registered non-profit organization

Canadians for Youth Leadership and Action

Elina talks about her fun afternoon with Roger, looking at his family pictures.

The story of how Marguerite and Joanna met for the first time.

The beginning of Rusty's great romance.

 Writing Memories Vice-Director, Margret Rand, shares her experience with the project.