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The 'Great Thanksgiving Listen' seeks wisdom from grandparents
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One organization wants to inspired more significant conversations this Thanksgiving between young people and their elders. - photo by Kelsey Dallas
One organization wants Thanksgiving dinner conversation this year to be deeper than diners asking each other, "Can you please pass the rolls?"

StoryCorps, which records and catalogues stories from everyday Americans through a weekly podcast and smartphone app, has launched a project called The Great Thanksgiving Listen, encouraging young people to use the extra family time around the holiday to ask their elders more meaningful questions.

"If we can pull this off, it will create a very powerful and important bottom-up history, through our voices, through our family's voices and (through) stories of the last 75, 80, 90 years of United States history," said StoryCorps founder Dave Isay to NPR.

The project could also boost grandparents' mental well-being because recent research has highlighted the important role face-to-face interactions play in warding off symptoms of depression, as Deseret News National reported last week.

"Having some face-to-face time and conversation actually translates into real health benefits like the significant reduction of depression risk," noted Alan Teo, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Oregon Health & Science University, in the article.

Young people also benefit from spending more time with their grandparents, because they can take advantage of the life lessons they have to offer, explained writer Erin Konrad in a recent article for The Huffington Post.

"My grandparents have taught me the importance of listening," she wrote. "One of the greatest things you can ever receive is the gift of learning from those who have walked this earth before you."

StoryCorps has also highlighted the value of family connections in promoting its project.

"StoryCorps hopes to make the Great Thanksgiving Listen a national tradition and to continue fostering meaningful connections within families, communities and classrooms, while also creating a singular and priceless archive of American history and wisdom," the organization's website notes.

To participate in the project, people can download StoryCorps for free from the app store on most smartphones.

"The StoryCorps (app) helps users select questions and record and then upload interviews to the StoryCorps archive in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress," NPR reported.