Monday, June 4, 2007
When Ben Meyers was 12, he walked his dog to the park every day to meet his friend Donald. A self-professed history buff, Ben loved hearing colorful stories about the events he had only read about, specifically his friend's experience in the Pacific theater in World War II. His friend Donald was 80 years old.
Ben compiled an oral history for Donald to pass on to his family. That summer, instead of going to camp or loitering around town like other kids his age, Meyers went to the local senior center in Boca Raton, Florida, to offer to take more oral histories. Now 17, he has been there every summer and holiday since, listening and writing.
Ben says he believes every life is important, historic and should be remembered. He's putting that belief into practice: he's building a nonprofit that would expand his mission nationwide, writing a book that explains how to take an oral history, and crafting a formula to trigger memories in Alzheimer's patients using a set of 80 questions. Often called a young Steven Spielberg, creating a next-generation Shoah Project, Ben works passionately to live up to that description.
Update: Watch the CNN.com Live interview
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Young People Who Rock is a weekly interview series focused on people under 30 -- from CEOs to entertainers to athletes to community and political leaders -- who are doing remarkable things. CNN Anchor Nicole Lapin introduces them here, then interviews them Fridays on CNN.com Live. Log on in the 3 p.m. ET hour to catch the interviews.