OCC Receives Multiple Grants, Donations To Fund Veterans Storytelling Project

Photo courtesy OCC

TOMS RIVER – Ocean County College just received a series of grants and donations to help fund StoryCorps and The Telling Project, which together will tell the stories of Ocean County’s veterans in an effort to engage OCC students and community members in topics that explore the human spirit.

StoryCorps is a national oral history project that began in 2003 and now boasts over 60,000 interviews and 100,000 participants nationwide, who talk openly about their experiences with topics like 9/11 and being LGBT or Latino. All recordings are archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, so that stories can be preserved for future generations.

With the help of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, StoryCorps will visit the OCC campus in July to record interviews with veterans at local VFW groups, American Legions and local senior communities, as well as through OCC’s Oral History Project and advertising. A high percentage of local veterans are expected to be contacted.

Once their stories are collected, The Telling Project, a performing arts non-profit that uses theater help explain veterans’ experiences, will create a play that showcases those stories. That play will be performed by the Ocean County College Repertory Theatre Company in November, lining up with Veterans Day.

The recent grants and donations include:

  • $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts – Arts Engagement in American Communities
  • $10,000 donation from The Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation
  • $2,000 donation from the New Jersey Historical Commission
  • $1,250 grant from the Ocean County Tourism Advisory Council
  • $1,000 grant from the Ocean County Cultural & Heritage Commission

“It is important that our veterans’ stories be heard, archived, and told for future generations,” explained Mark Wilson, OCC Director of Cultural Affairs. “By combining an oral history of StoryCorps with the play-writing of The Telling Project, we will be able to accomplish our goal of letting members of the community understand the history of our veterans. The oral histories and play will be an additional resource for teachers to share with their students and a resource for communities across New Jersey.”

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Sara Grillo served as the Assistant News Editor/Writer at Micromedia Publications in 2017. She has lived in numerous areas within Monmouth and Ocean Counties for the past 9 years. Grillo studied Journalism and Communication Arts at Ramapo College and has held positions in Marketing, Public Relations and Sales prior to writing for Micromedia. She left in October of 2017 to pursue creative writing.