In 2009, the Hill House Association embarked on a 10-year project to record 1,000 stories — 100 each year — of the people who use their services.
Tomorrow evening at 5, a group of Duquesne University psychology majors and the Hill House will present some of those stories at a free public reading in the Kaufmann Center, 1825 Centre Ave.
One is the story of Tika Hemmingway, a boxer who is training for the 2012 Olympics. This photo is from the Hill House Association web site.
She told the interviewers:
“Tragedy struck my life as a teenager. I was angry. I was hurting, and looking for outlets for my grief. I fought so much in high school that I was thrown out. Until one day, someone put a pair of boxing gloves on me.
Then I found the Hill House and support I never dreamed possible. I got my GED. Today, I’m a college student working part-time at the Hill House. I’m ranked second in the world in amateur boxing and training for the 2012 Olympics."
Her story is among the first group of stories here.
The eight to be featured tomorrow evening were compiled by the Duquesne students through interviews with past and current program participants during a service-learning course taught by Dr. Susan Goldberg, assistant professor of psychology.
"I wanted to do oral histories in the Hill and a colleague told me about the '1,000 Stories,'" Susan said. "We did eight interviews. My students and I will be presenting those."
The interviews were broken into three themes. 1. the Hill House's effect on their lives; 2. meaningful life experiences; 3. the community.
"Many people were struggling to turn their lives around, some talked about traumatic experiences, such as being beaten at gunpoint or a child dying," Susan said. "Every single person has a sense of redemption, resilience and of overcoming great odds to achieve something.
"I'm hoping to pick up more of the people we didn't get a chance to talk to in the fall semester."