Jay Newton-Small was desperate. The Washington, D.C.-based founder and CEO of MemoryWell, a site that relates stories of elderly people entering memory care, needed a writer, and she needed one fast. Newton-Small had journeyed to the Chicago area to host family nights at three local nursing homes, where writers would interview residents and their loved ones in preparation to crafting stories. I had interviewed two residents at Brookdale in Hoffman Estates, but was not available for the next day's sessions at St. Paul's House on Chicago's North Side and at Lutheran Home, an assisted living facility in Arlington Heights.
When Newton-Small found she had more residents waiting for interviews than anticipated, but faced a shortage of writers, she put out an emergency appeal to me. Knowing IWOC's Katherine Mikkelson lived in Arlington Heights, I told Jay I'd reach out to Katherine.
In near miraculous fashion, Katherine said she would make herself available at a moment's notice to visit Lutheran Home, about a mile from her residence, conduct multiple interviews and turn around the resulting articles in a week's time. Within minutes, I had introduced the two women by email. Katherine found herself with a new client likely to hire her repeatedly for future family nights at Lutheran Home, and Newton-Small had averted a writer shortage.
It was a case of IWOC's mission – which includes bringing writers and paying clients together for mutual benefit – being fulfilled yet again.
And on this occasion at the 11th hour.
- Jeff Steele
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