Staff members at the Marie Smith Health and Social Center produced an oral history documentary highlighting the lives of 15 seniors living in North and Northeast Portland and are planning two previews.
The project comes after a year of planning and working with caregivers and volunteers in the community to interview clients interested in the project. The two showings will be at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 10, and at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 7, in the Marie Smith Center, 4616 N. Albina St.
The Black United Fund of Oregon awarded the center a grant to produce the documentary, and last December, HomeStead Capitol Inc. donated camera equipment.
The film highlights the African American struggle for justice in Portland, featuring Bobbi Nunn, a longtime community activist and educator and other pioneers like Johnnie Maxey, who worked alongside her husband, the late Charles Maxey, operating the first African American-owned barbershop in Portland. The film also features 98-year-old, Doris Brockell, a once accomplished dancer, who shares a story of being the 44th employee hired by Tektronix.
Other stories capture clients and caregivers sharing experiences on aging and dealing with loss. They also discuss caregiver respite programs like the Volunteers of America's Adult Day Services.
The Marie Smith Center opened in 1995, supported by The Meyer Trust and the Black United Fund. Named after the late Marie B. Smith, a longtime community activist and pioneer of civil rights in Portland, the center's service program emphasizes community outreach and culturally diverse programming for its clients.
The mission of Volunteers of America's adult day services program is to provide daytime, therapeutic social and health group activities to support caregivers and seniors in maintaining a high quality of life and as much independence as possible while living in community based settings for as long as possible.