Michelle G-College Student Volunteer

My name is Michelle Tinnes and I am a student at UC Santa Barbara. For the past year I have been volunteering for an amazing organization called LifeChronicles. Seven years ago a woman by the name of Kate Carter lost a close friend as well as her friend’s husband to a terminal illness within eighteen months of each other. They left three young children as their legacy to this world. Kate had wished she could have done something to preserve their memory for her and for their children before they passed. This gave her the idea to start an organization that captured individual’s memories on video for their families and friends to cherish forever; thus, LifeChronicles was born.

LifeChronicles does much more than merely capture the memories of the terminally ill. It also strives to keep families together and offer reason for others. LifeChronicles preserves the memories of individuals placing a child for adoption by allowing them to leave their unborn children a message to later watch when they may have questions or are curious about their birth mother. This beautiful organization also allows for parents in the military to create a tape for their young children so they do not forget their face, or at least stay familiar, while they are on duty away from their family defending this great nation. But just as important, LifeChronicles has been working with the Alzheimer’s Association documenting the affects that Alzheimer’s has on families. This allows for people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and their families, to have a better understanding of what this disease entails. Furthermore, this partnership offers valuable research to the Association in documenting the mental decline of its patients, let alone the value it produces by preserving memories for the patients’ families.
Working with this organization has been an emotional journey, but not in the way you would think. I expected to go into this and cry many tears of sadness, but I did not expect to feel the joy that I did. It is such a great feeling to know that you have captured someone’s most intimate thoughts for them to share with their family long after they are gone and for a child to have something left of their parents to help with the separation process.

Michelle Tinnes