“Goodness, Resilience and Love”: Formerly Homeless Tacoma Family on StoryCorps Friday, 11/28

StoryCorps Gilliard Family-official version

Franklin and Sherry Gilliard, the Tacoma family whose story aired on StoryCorps Nov. 28.

We’re feeling grateful for the bounty of heartfelt stories that Puget Sound families told StoryCorps this summer, and amazingly, a second story from our project has been selected for national broadcast.  The story aired Friday morning, Nov. 28 during StoryCorps’ “National Day of Listening” on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition.

The story was recorded as part of our project, “Finding Our Way: Puget Sound Stories About Family Homelessness.” “Finding Our Way,” funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is a collaboration between Catholic Community Services of Western Washington (CCS), YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish and Seattle University Project on Family Homelessness.

StoryCorps Tacoma sign on door
The Gilliard family first recorded their story at CCS in July. Here’s the “farewell and thanks” sign that CCS staff posted on their front door that week.

The story, “Once Homeless, Family Feels ‘Blessed To Wake Up Another Day,'” features the Gilliard family of Tacoma, Wash., who first recorded their story at CCS in July. StoryCorps producer Eve Claxton heard their story and invited them back for an additional recording in early November, also at CCS, and from that recording the story was produced. Here’s the official description of the story:

Sherry Gilliard talks with her husband Franklin Gilliard about losing their business and subsequently their home after the economic crash, their experience of becoming homeless and living in a shelter with their three children, and the love and faith that brought them through these hardships. The family is now in transitional housing in Tacoma, Wash.

“Friday is our ‘National Day of Listening,’ and for that broadcast we always try to air pieces that embody goodness, resilience and love,” Eve said. “The Gilliards are a very special family and everyone here is excited to share their story on such a special day.”

We collected nearly 75 stories in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties this summer.  Eve has been recording about 15-20 additional stories, and in some cases asking back people like the Gilliards who recorded their stories at one of our local sessions.

Get a glimpse behind the scenes of the Tacoma recordings from this post on the StoryCorps blog in August.

Where can people listen to StoryCorps?

StoryCorps airs during the National Public Radio (NPR) program “Morning Edition,” usually around 6:20 & 8:20 a.m., but please check your local listings to determine when your station airs Morning Edition. In the Seattle area, KUOW (94.9 FM) airs StoryCorps at 5:25 and 7:25 a.m., as does KPLU (88.5 FM). 

Check here to find an NPR station in your area.

You can hear the story on NPR’s website, on the StoryCorps Web site, and Firesteel.

Second story from this project to air

This story is the second national story to come out of our project.  Earlier, Kris and Erika Kalberer talked about living in their car with their family of four, in their story that aired Aug. 22

It’s rare for two stories from the same project to make it onto the StoryCorps broadest, according to Michelle Bova of StoryCorps. “About one out of every 100 stories we record across all of our programs goes to air.  These are just great stories, the participants were very honest and forthcoming, and this collection obviously hit on some really unique and personal moments.”

StoryCorps Launch SC with CCS
StoryCorps and CCS staff at the kickoff in June at the Gates Foundation. L-R: Michelle Bova and Eve Claxton of StoryCorps with CCS staff Jonathan Ross, Denny Hunthausen, Tanya Mettlen and Alan Brown. Photo by Steve Schimmelman.

Many thanks and gratitude to the CCS staff for all their devotion to this project — especially Alan Brown, Tanya Mettlen and Jonathan Ross — and for their tireless work to help the Pierce County families who experience homelessness. Above all, thank you to the families like the Gilliards for sharing their stories of goodness, resilience and love.

2 thoughts on ““Goodness, Resilience and Love”: Formerly Homeless Tacoma Family on StoryCorps Friday, 11/28

  1. Pingback: StoryCorps and Gates Foundation Launch “Finding Our Way” Project | Seattle University Project on Family Homelessness

  2. I would like to contact the Gilliard family. My name is Nadene Lewis and I went to high school with Franklin. We have lost touch for several years.

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