Virtual Storytelling

CJE SeniorLife’s Community Engagement Team invites you to join us as we embark on a virtual storytelling journey. 

Each day we will provide a writing prompt that will bring about a personal story in you. 

A story that can be a daily source of joy, reflection or a time to reminisce.  Getting some of our life stories down on paper not only helps us keep our minds and memories fresh, it helps us feel connected to our roots and to each other.  We encourage you to begin to build a book of your memories, a gift you will cherish and that can be shared with family and friends.  


  • Please write a short essay from the writing prompt below (500 word limit or approximately 1-2 pages)

  • Be sure to include a beginning, middle and end to your story as well as any details that might enhance the story you are sharing.

  • Write from the heart.  If you feel stuck, just start writing and see where it takes you.  Have fun!


Introduction to Virtual Storytelling: Creating Life Stories Through Writing Prompts

In this video, Sarah Squires-Doyle invites you to partake in virtual storytelling through daily writing prompts, and to start creating a collection of life stories! She’ll also cover some of the benefits gained through storytelling and the simple steps involved to get your creative juices flowing.


A Special Message from Jewish Student Connection at JCC Chicago & TOV Teens at JUF Chicago

Teens through the Jewish Student Connection at JCC Chicago and TOV Teens at JUF Chicago wanted to share their favorite memories and traditions with their own grandparents and families⁠—and even their musical talents⁠—with CJE SeniorLife residents and older adults in the community to brighten their days during the COVID-19 pandemic. CJE is grateful to these organizations for their special messages and thoughtful efforts! What are your favorite family memories with your grandparents?

The writing prompt for today is:

  • "Non-Stop..."

For example, can you recall a time when you lived a pace that felt non-stop? What kept you going? What was it all for?



Other writing prompts from the past :

  • "The Room Where It Happens..."

For example, share a story about a room where it happens. What is the "it"? A regular occurrence? A special occasion or something you look forward to?
  • "Wait For It..."

For example, share a story about something you waited for, was it worth it? Where did it lead you?
  • "My Shot..."

Like Alexander Hamilton, do you have a life story about taking a shot at something you stood for, fought for and believed in?
  • "Let freedom ring!..."

For example, share a story, personal or historical that has to do with an act of freedom.
  • "Our Founding Fathers..."

For example, write your own interpretation of how the "Founding Fathers" of the United States shaped our history and declaration of independence.
  • "Living in America..."

For example, whether you were born in America, immigrated or relocated, write about what American life is like in your own words
  • "Finding my independence..."

For example, share a personal story about a time growing up when you found your independence. What were the circumstances and what prompted this shift from dependence to independence?
  • "First Flight..."

For example, can you remember a time when you took your first flight on an airplane, hot air balloon or hang glider? Describe the mode and the experience.
  • "Nature Nurtures..."

For example, can you remember a time when you experienced nature in a healing way? How did it connect your mind, body, spirit and place in the world?
  • "Making a splash..."

For example, was there a time you have jumped into the lake, ocean or pool and made a real splash or tried water sports? How did it turn out?
  • "Happy Campers..."

For example, did you ever have a great camping experience? Or does the prompt bring up another way to interpret this phrase?
  • "First Day of Summer!..."

For example, what does the first day of summer mean to you? What do you look forward to doing? Share a good story from the past.
  • "Learning to ride a bike..."

For example, do you remember who taught you how to ride a bike? Did you learn quickly or did it take a while? Where and when did this happen?
  • "Rose-colored glasses..."

For example, write about a time in your life and something you viewed with optimistic eyes. How did it work out?
  • "A lesson learned..."

For example, write about an experience you had and a bigger lesson you learned from it.
  • "Vacation Fiasco..."

For example, did you ever have a vacation go wrong? Share all the juicy details!
  • "A perfect summer day!..."

For example, share a story about how you spent a perfect summer day or how you would like to spend one in the future!
  • "Cruising..."

For example, does this spark a story about cruising in a car with your best buds or perhaps out on a cruise ship sailing the seas?
  • "Hat's off!..."

For example, do you remember a time you attended a graduation? Was it your own, or someone else's? Share a good story about what that day meant for everyone!
  • "Make a wish..."

For example, write about a birthday to remember. Was there a special cake or wish you made blowing out the candles?
  • "A friend I cherish..."

For example, share a story about a special friendship you cherish, what is the bond that holds you together?
  • "What I hope for..."

For example, write about something you hope for. It can be personal, or for someone you care about or your hopes for the world.
  • "Watching the sunset..."

For example, write a story about a time and a place you watched the sunset. What was special about it?
  • "Sounds of summer..."

For example, summer brings many sounds - which ones represent a summer you had and a memory that sticks out?
  • "Camping out..."

For example, share a story about a camping trip and what the experience was like. Were you a camper or a glamper?
  • "Ice Cream!..."

For example, describe a time you enjoyed an ice cream treat! Did you have a favorite spot or person you went with?
  • "Lemonade Stand..."

For example, do you have a good story about a lemonade stand? Perhaps one you made or a child made? What did a cup cost? Where did you set up shop?
  • "School's out for the summer!..."

For example, recall a time from your early years when school let out for the summer. How did you feel? What did you look forward to doing?
  • "And the band played on..."

For example, can you recall an occasion where the band played on and you had the time of your life?
  • "Saturday Fun!..."

For example, share a memory about how you liked to spend your Saturdays. What did you look forward to? Did it feel different than other days of the week?
  • "Packing a picnic..."

For example, if you ever packed a picnic basket, what was in it and where did you take it? Or what would you put in it today and where would you go?
  • "Music that moves me..."

For example, what type of music lifts you up? When do you listen to it? Is there a concert to remember?
  • "Stars and Stripes..."

For example, share what flag means something to you? Is it the USA or another country? Or are there many flags that represent you or your family's heritage?
  • "A walk in the park..."

For example, write about a time you enjoyed a walk in the park. Were you alone or with someone else? What stands out about it?
  • "Favorite TV shows from my younger years..."

For example, what were some favorite TV shows you loved to watch growing up? What were the common themes?
  • "A hidden talent..."

For example, share a story about a hidden talent you have or someone you know has.
  • "Page tuner..."

For example, describe one of your favorite books. Why was it so hard to put down?
  • "Belly laughs..."

For example, describe a time when you laughed so hard your stomach hurt!
  • "What brings me joy..."

For example, describe what brings you joy? People? Nature? Reading? Learning? A hobby?
  • "Museum to remember..."

For example, share a story about visiting one of your favorite museums. Where was it? What were the main attractions?
  • "Green thumb..."

For example, write about a time you tried to grow something. What was it? Did you have a green thumb?
  • "Applause!..."

For example, write about a time you applauded someone or were moved to give a standing ovation.
  • "And they're off!..."

For example, did you ever watch a horse race like the Kentucky Derby? Did you wear a festive hat or drink Mint Juleps? Who did you have this experience with?
  • "Opening Day..."

For example, do you have a story to share about opening day at the baseball park or some other favorite sport event?
  • "Mother's Day..."

For example, share a story about your mother or someone you looked up to like a mother. Do you recall a way you honored her on Mother's Day or did something special?
  • "My school buddies..."

For example, who were your friends at school? What kinds of things did you do during school? After school?
  • "An awkward moment at school..."

For example, was there a time you remember that was awkward for you or someone else?
  • "My least favorite subjects in school..."

For example, what classes were your least favorite? Was it the teacher? The subject? Or something else?
  • "My favorite subjects in school..."

My favorite subjects in school For example, do you remember what subjects you liked the most? Or may have sparked an interest that stuck with you?
  • "Teachers I remember most..."

For example, were there teachers that you favored or disliked? Why?
  • "Schools I attended during childhood..."

For example, where did you go to school? What was it like? How did you get there?
  • "Where my grandparents were from..."

For example, share some history about where your grandparents came from and what life was like during those times.
  • "A quirky detail about each of my parents..."

For example, do you recall anything quirky about your parents? Share a strange habit or personality trait about your parents.
  • "Where my parents were born..."

For example, write a story about where your parents came from, what city or country and how that may or may not have influenced where you are today.
  • "My place in the birth order..."

For example, what's your pecking order? Oldest or youngest? Middle child or only child? How did that work out for you?
  • "How I got my name..."

For example, were you named after a family member, a movie star or someone else? Do you like your name or have a nickname you prefer?
  • "The day I was born..."

For example, share a story about what was going on in the world on the day you were born? Where were you born? What details about your birth have been shared by your parents?
  • "Keepsakes..."

For example, what are some sentimental things you have held onto? How did you acquire them? Write a story about why they are important to you.
  • "Family Pets..."

For example, share a story about your early days of going to the movies. What was the theatre like? What were some of the first movies you saw? Who did you go with and what did it cost?
  • "At the movies..."

For example, write about pets you had during your lifetime. Was there a favorite? Or one that didn’t turn out so great?
  • "Ready, Set, Go!..."

For example, share a story about a race you may have done or how you learned to ride a bike. Share the before and after experience.
  • "Roller Coaster..."

For example, share a life story about a time you went on a roller coaster. Where was the amusement park? What were your favorite rides? Who did you go with? What did it cost?
  • "My childhood home..."

For example, write about the home you grew up in, what your bedroom or back yard was like and what you did for family fun.
  • "Favorite family photo..."

For example, write about a time a picture was taken, what happened in the minutes right before and/or after? Why was it taken?
  • "Planting the Seed..."

For example, write about a time you planted a seed. Was it to start a garden? Or a hint to reveal something bigger? Or to provide a clue to a new innovation?
  • "The Gift of Flowers..."

For example, write about a time you were the sender or receiver of flowers. What was the occasion? Was it a surprise? What impact did it have?
  • "Spring Break..."

For example, write about a time you took a "Spring Break". Did you take a trip? Make your own fun? Or visit someone?
  • "April Showers..."

For example, write about a time you experienced a good Spring thunderstorm. Did you dance in the rain? Watch from your front porch or window with your family? Lose power or marvel at the lit up sky?
  • "Spring is in the Air!..."

For example, write about what the Spring season means to you. What do you notice? What does it represent? What do you like to do in the Spring?
  • "A Holiday to Remember..."

For example, write about what you did last week to celebrate Passover, Easter or another event. What was different about it this year? How did you make it work?
  • "Sitting down to dinner..."

For example, share a story about sitting down to the dinner table. What was the occasion? Who was present? Was there something special to remember about the food or conversation?
  • "Working 9-5..."

For example, tell a story about the first 9-5 job that you did or someone you know did. What was the occupation? Did you enjoy the work?
  • "Rise and Shine!..."

For example, write a story about a time you had to wake up early for something you were excited about. A new job? A vacation? A special birthday?
  • "Uniform..."

For example, did you or someone you know ever have to wear a uniform? What was it for? School, the military or a job? Describe a typical day in your uniform.
  • "The Big Day..."

For example, write about your wedding day or one you attended as a guest, noting the details, the dress, the scene and what stood out.
  • "Suit and Tie..."

For example, you could share a story about you or someone you know and the occasion that required putting on a suit a tie. Was it the first day on a new job? A wedding? Or some other event?
  • "First Look..."

For example, you could write a story about a first look at your future spouse, a new child or grandchild or future home.
  • "Turning on the TV..."

For example, do you remember your first TV? What did it look like? How many channels were there? What did you watch? How does it compare with TVs today?
  • "Picnic in the Park..."

For example, describe a time you had a picnic in the park. Where was it? Who were you with? What was the scene or occasion?
  • "My Heart Skipped a Beat..."

For example, what was it that made your heart skip a beat? A first love? A new baby? A new job? A new car?
  • "My Roaring Twenties..."

For example, what did you do during your 20s? What were some milestones? What did you learn about yourself as a young adult?
  • "New Digs..."

For example, do you remember your first apartment? What was it like? Where was it? How did you make it feel like home?
  • "First paycheck..."

For example, do you remember when you or someone close to you got their first paycheck? What was it for? How did it feel?
  • "The Graduate..."

For example, write about a time you or someone else graduated and the nostalgia around the event
  • "The first time I voted..."

For example do you remember the year and who you voted for? What was going on in the world at that time? What motivated you to cast your vote? And how did the voting process differ from today?
  • "Teen tunes and times..."

For example, what were your teen years like? Who were your friends? What tunes were popular? What did you do for fun?
  • "My childhood chores were ..."

For example, we all probably had some type of chores, what were they? On a farm, around the house? Helping a neighbor? Were innovations developed later in life to replace them or make them easier today?
  • "Behind the wheel..."

For example, who taught you how to drive? How old were you? Where were you? What type of car? Was it an exciting or nerve racking experience?
  • "When I was young, I wanted to grow up to be a..."

For example, did you dream of being a nurse, a doctor or scientist? Did any pan out? What did you end up doing?
  • "In my childhood, I loved to play..."

For example, was there a game you played regularly by yourself, with siblings or with your family? Or an outside activity you played with the neighborhood kids?
  • "One of the best vacations I ever took..."

As it snows on this Spring day of March 23, let's reminisce about one of the best vacations you ever took!  Where did you go?  Who were you with?  What was so special about it?  Share the good details and take your readers with you! 
  • “How I ended up in Chicago” (or your current location).  

This is a great way to share why you live where you do and can be a fun introduction with others.  For example, you can write about how you might have been born here, or moved here for a job, a partner or some other reason.


Please check back again for your next daily writing prompt! 


Thank you for joining us and feel free to email with any questions, comments or to share your story.


Thank you and stay healthy!