We love our home.
Greater Morgantown, West Virginia, is a wonderful place to live and work. A large, comprehensive university, federal research facilities, regional health systems, well-established as well as emerging businesses, cultural events, community organizations, and more ensure we have a lively, diverse, multinational atmosphere. Early on, Populore decided to add what it can to this exciting mixture. Not surprisingly, much of our effort—beyond providing services to clients—has been in support of community events and activities related to education, writing, aging, history, and storytelling.
Below are just a few of the experiences we have found especially enjoyable and rewarding.
“Out and About”
Sharing Our Passion
OLLI at WVU has been a favorite place for Populore staff to share their expertise and enthusiasm for memoir/history projects and self-publishing. Our volunteer involvements, both teaching and committee work, extend back to OLLI’s founding, and beyond that to its predecessor, Appalachian Lifelong Learners. Whether it’s a life-writing or a self-publishing-related offering on our calendar, we always look forward to spending classroom time with OLLI members. (Other venues are possible too—e.g., conferences, libraries, continuing education programs, and retirement communities.)
Populore has organized “show and tell” opportunities for people to bring some object that has significance in the person’s life, and share its story. On another occasion, we sponsored “Finely Crafted: A Celebration of Beautiful Books,” with displays, presentations, and hands-on activities. One highlight was a talk by the curator of West Virginia University’s Rare Books Collection, and a chance to see some of the treasures. Populore’s contribution was a session on private publishing—that is, books intended for a limited readership.
Supporting Young Learners
We at Populore have had satisfying opportunities to partner with local educational efforts. We have hosted high-school students exploring career paths, supervised interns, and had beneficial exchanges with students at WVU. We provide assistance to our county historical society’s annual printed Proceedings by inviting and reviewing articles, often from public-history student researchers. When a high school Girl Scout undertook an oral history project for her Gold Award, she found a ready partner at Populore.
“Our” Star City Riverfront
We are not completely focused on stories, writing, and publishing at Populore. Not quite, anyway. One favorite channel for community support has been the Edith Barill Riverfront Park and “Tugboat Depot,” a community-built playground on the banks of the Monongahela River just a stone’s throw or three (for a big-league outfielder) down the hill from our offices. When we pass that way, we like to look over at the children climbing on the playground fixtures or throwing pebbles into the river, and we like to see Populore’s name engraved, along with others, on the park’s picket fence.
Tapping into the University
We have often found just the help we need—whether for one project or long term—by looking toward West Virginia University. Whenever a project has called for some particular knowledge or ability, someone at or from WVU has been just the person we need. The university’s strong community education programs and presentations have been useful, in areas such as entrepreneurship and small business, history, writing, and graphic design. And we can’t imagine life without a comprehensive research library next door.
We enjoy talking to people about what we’ve learned, and sometimes we find opportunities to do that for service groups, book clubs, libraries, women’s groups, conferences, fairs, and the like. Our continuing effort to get seniors to share and record their stories—and our desire to have helpful information to pass on—has led us to participation in a regional senior health advisory group, where professionals and other caring people from across many disciplines come together to share news and resources.