Big Hearts for Seniors (BHS)

Registrants: you should have received a final confirmation this morning 11am EDT with the event link.  if you did not, Please click here on July 30th 7pm EDT to join the event.


If you’re having any technical issues, or if you have questions about viewing this event you can reach out
Email or call 734-998-9353

Bid in our virtual silent auction! The auction will be open July 23rd-August 7th. There will be lots of exciting items to bid on.

Bid in our Silent Auction

On July 30, 2020, Big Hearts for Seniors (BHS) will present Big Hearted Stories: Experiences of Aging virtually. This engaging program will provide a platform for talented storytellers to share their powerful, true life experiences. These compelling stories will bring laughter, inspiration, and maybe even a few tears.

Big Hearts for Seniors was formed to support critical services for our aging community members. This collaborative is comprised of five community non-profit programs serving older adults: Ann Arbor Meals on Wheels, Housing Bureau for Seniors, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Silver Club Memory Programs, and the Turner Senior Wellness Program. These programs help seniors access home-delivered meals, sustainable housing options, support to remain independent, learning in retirement opportunities, relief from social isolation, and programs for those with dementia.

Since 2006, Big Hearts for Seniors has raised sponsor support funds and generous community donations through various events including the Big House/Big Heart races, silent auctions, and documentary film screenings. All funds raised are used to provide needed services to older adults.


Meet the Storytellers

Betty Brown-Chappell, Phd, MSW - The Matriarch

Author of the book, Open Secrets: A Poor Person’s Life in Higher Education, Eastern Michigan University (EMU) named Dr. Brown-Chappell as a 2012 Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award Recipient. Currently a retiree from EMU, Dr. Brown-Chappell’s professional work has been featured in such media as Ebony Magazine, The New York Times, Detroit Free Press, Ann Arbor News and The Chicago Defender; she has also appeared on local and national television and radio shows. Dr. Brown-Chappell recorded The Matriarch, (originally an Honors Thesis authored by Pamela Gesund) for Storycorps. She and her husband, Michael, have two adult children and recently became grandparents. 

Margaret Flannery - Lake Rara

Margaret is a native Michigander from Saginaw and has travelled the world in her seven decades. She says her journeys have been both physical and mental. “Some of the most incredibly beautiful and scary places I have visited are within myself.” She loves to tell stories about her experiences, she says she sometimes does things just to have a good story to tell. Other times, good stories happen because she is active and willing to explore. Margaret is grateful to her family and to all the people from around the world who have enriched her life.

Marc Holland - The Knees Go First

Marc is a published playwright whose comedies have been performed more than 300 times over the last 28 years. He recently signed a contract with Fifth Avenue Press to publish a trilogy of mystery novels, chronicling the adventures of Ted Winkle: Private Eye. A longtime actor, he portrayed both Atticus Finch and Willy Loman for the Ann Arbor Civic Theatre. Married with grown children, Marc is a voracious fan of the Detroit Tigers and Toarmina’s Pizza.

Breeda Miller - Apple Pie

Breeda is a recovering caregiver, speaker and author who helps other caregivers carry on. Her stories have been shared on The Moth Story Hour on NPR and a video of her story Ticket to Heaven went viral (in a good way) with over 1.2 million views in early 2020. Her award-winning book The Caregiver Coffeebreak provides helpful tips for caregivers to Take a Break Before They Break. As the Preventing Burnout Speaker, Breeda works with organizations who want to keep their best and brightest and help them stay that way. When not telling stories, you’ll find her in Manchester with her family enjoying a decent cup of tea on her porch. 

Roger Parker - Salt and Pepper

Roger Parker grew up on his grandparents’ farm near Ann Arbor listening to his grandfather’s stories. He honed his own story-telling skills telling biblical tales during 40 years as a United Methodist preacher. Roger has played piano in dance bands and jazz ensembles since he was a teenager. His story will tell about the influence of Ed Cox, with whom he formed the duo “Salt and Pepper” and who has become for him a role model for aging vibrantly and living life fully to the very end.  

CarolynRose Stone - Singing with Strangers

CarolynRose’s Southern parents gave her a special first name, pronounced and spelled as one word, as her mother intended, her everyday name. Her story is about singing late in life, not about performing. She loves to sing like we used to, driving around, windows open, radio cranked. She makes connections with people through music, that surge of energy and common experience. CarolynRose works with people with dementia, always watching for their ways to show us who they have always been.

Victor J. Strecher, PhD, MPH - Emcee

Vic is a professor at the University of Michigan’s Schools of Public Health and Founder and CEO of Kumanu, Inc. His latest neuroscience, behavioral, and epidemiologic research; his two books, Life On Purpose and the graphic novel On Purpose; his free massive open online course Finding Purpose and Meaning in Life; and the Purposeful application his business (Kumanu) created are all focused on the importance of developing and maintaining a strong purpose in life.

Sponsor the 2020 Event

Big Hearts for Seniors is grateful to our past Big Hearts Fundraiser sponsors for their generous support of services for older adults in our community! If you would like to become a sponsor in 2020, please contact Shannon Etcheverry at 734-998-9352 or email

“There are many worthy causes and one is not better than the other. But we do notice more and more an emphasis on collaboration and we like the idea of giving to one cause that benefits five programs.” – Bank of Ann Arbor

"Given the important senior programs in our community that benefit from Big Hearts for Seniors, I look forward to being one of this year's Faculty Champions. For many of my patients in Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County, these programs provide services that impact their daily lives in ways both big and small."

-Theodore Suh, MD, PhD, MHS
Associate Professor, Internal Medicine

"As a "young old," I recognize the immeasurable benefits of programming that engages the mind, feeds the body and spirit, and provides stability. The senior programs supported by Big Hearts for Seniors provide those things and so much more."

-Alfreda Rooks, MPA
Director, Community Health Services