Bold Folks Home, a documentary series that features senior citizens living in the Central Arkansas area, launched its first video after months of planning.
"It felt incredible," Jordan King, founder of the group, said.
The four-person team includes University of Central Arkansas alumni King, Paige Murphy and Sam Belk, alongside University of Arkansas at Little Rock student Jonathan Rodriguez.
King said the goal of the project from the start has been to find a way to showcase overlooked senior citizens and turn them into senior celebrities, capturing stories from their lives and sharing that history with others.
After reading an article written by the Log Cabin Democrat in May, Presbyterian Village, a retirement community in Little Rock, reached out to the group and asked them to come, which King said was a "big win."
He said the first step of the video series was the photo booth, where the group brought in vintage costumes and hats for residents to try on, to "interact with [them] in a way that [was] laid back and fun."
"I think it was a really great experience," King said.
King said the residents really enjoyed the activity and that one of the reasons it worked so well was the vintage outfits, which seemed to bring a sense of nostalgia.
"The real magic happened when we came back with the printed photos," he said. "Overwhelmingly, the response was a lot of excitement."
The other part of the project, King said, was the interview process. This time around, they had six.
"[We] uncovered some incredible stories," he said.
King said they met one man who said he worked in politics his whole life and proceeded to pull out a thank-you card from President Dwight. D. Eisenhower and letters from other presidents to show the group.
One female resident said her husband had been in World War II and was on a bomber when it was shot down in a conflict area. After not hearing from her husband for months, she finally got word he was alive.
King said stories like that are ones that aren’t told unless someone asks about them.
He said those six interviews would be published soon on the Bold Folks Home website, www.boldfolkshome.com.
"[They’re] just really powerful stories these people are sharing with us and in turn we get to share them with others, which, I think, is the heart of the project," he said.
King said he recently heard a quote that says something along the lines of "When an old person dies, it is as if a library burned down also." To the group, so much of the responsibility revolving around the project is about preserving that history to share with others.
King said after each visit, the team members were all on the same page, agreeing that they didn’t want to just show up, take some pictures and leave, but in turn have plans to keep those relationships they built going. The last step in the process will be to return again and show the final video with the residents and their families.
"That’s going to be a lot of fun as well," he said.
While they don’t have plans set in stone, King said the overall response from the residents and the staff at Presbyterian Village was really encouraging and they want to continue to reach out to other nursing homes.
"I really do think that since Presbyterian Village was nice enough to start our project out … we have the photos, we have the video, and we can really show [others] what we can do," he said.
(Staff writer Hilary Andrews can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1215. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)