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Listen to a Life Contest


This year's Listen to a Life Story Contest is closed. Winners will be announced here by May 15, 2024. The next contest starts on Grandparents Day, September 8, 2024.

When young and old come together, they can change each other's lives, their community, and even the world. Big things happen when you listen to a life – you travel time, learning from the past for a better future.

The contest is open to young people 8-18 years, with a grandparent or grandfriend 50 years or older (cannot be a parent). To enter, all you have to do is Read, Listen, Write! Check out all the details below.

One Grand Prize Timeless Award winner receives a beautiful keepsake art piece from Cedar Lake Studios – which offers a curated selection of finely-crafted, unique, inspired art and gifts created by Canadian artisans – along with $100 cash. 7 Legacy Awards receive a keepsake mini chest. One GTB (Greater Tkaronto Bioregion) EcoLegacy Award winner receives $250 cash. All winners also receive a framed award certificate and an autographed copy of Dream, an award-winning bestseller about hopes and dreams across a lifetime, through history, and into the future.

Dream: A Tale of Wonder, Wisdom & Wishes Dream: A Tale of Wonder, Wisdom & Wishes by Susan V. Bosak has won 11 national awards including an International Reading Association Children's Choice, a Teachers' Choice, and the Pinnacle Award for Best Gift Book. The Listen to a Life Contest theme of time and dreams across a lifetime is inspired by this bestseller. 15 top illustrators each offer a gorgeously illustrated page in a poetic, multilayered story about life's hopes and dreams. A great book to share in the classroom – from elementary to high school – Dream is also a popular milestone gift book for children, teens, and adults. Find out more about Dream.



To enter the Listen to a Life Contest, a young person 8-18 years old interviews an older person over 50 years (cannot be a parent; may be a grandparent, older friend, mentor, neighbor, assisted living or long-term care resident, etc.). The young person then writes a 300-word essay (maximum) based on the interview.

Get ready by doing a little reading…

Check the contest rules. You can also read Why Enter?

Read past winning stories to see how to craft an appropriate essay. The judging committee isn't looking for a laundry list of dates and life facts. Rather, they're looking for an evocative, creative story that captures the essence of a person's life, or a critical moment or experience.

Finally, young and old can read and discuss the award-winning book Dream: A Tale of Wonder, Wisdom & Wishes, by Susan V. Bosak. A multilayered story told by a wise old star, it's about hopes and dreams across a lifetime, in the past and into the future. We even have intergenerational activities you can do. The book sets the stage for a great interview.



Do your interview by listening to a grandparent/grandfriend's life story. Learn about their hopes and goals through their life, how they achieved goals and overcame obstacles, or how dreams may have changed along the way. As you're listening, focus in on a significant life experience – it may be big or small, but it has to mean something to the person being interviewed. What life advice can the older person share? The judges are looking for an evocative, creative story that captures the essence of a person's life, or a critical moment or experience.

To help with your interview, we have Life Interview Tips and sample Life Interview Questions (you don't have to use the questions; they're designed to give you ideas and inspiration).

For students in the Greater Tkaronto Bioregion, the EcoLegacy Award will be given to a story that has environmental themes (e.g. older adult's experiences in nature, changes in the natural world they've seen, changes in thinking about how humans should steward the world, etc.).

WARNING: Entries MUST be based on an actual interview the young person completes in person, over the phone, or via the Internet with a living older adult. An entry cannot be based on a story the young person has been told by another person or has overheard. It must also be a true, real-life story, not creative fiction. Failure to follow these rules will result in immediate disqualification. Please read all the contest rules.



Now you're ready to write your story – 300 words maximum. Remember, the judging committee isn't looking for the person's whole life story (which is impossible to do in 300 words), but an essay that captures a theme, moment, or experience that's important in the older person's life.

No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. One entry per team (i.e. young person and grandparent or grandfriend). Entries must be 300 words or less, be a true story about an older person's life, and will be judged by a committee based on the following criteria: 1/3 writing quality, including creative presentation; 1/3 content depth and evocativeness; 1/3 appropriateness to theme, particularly the ability to capture a timeless idea, insight, or theme (big or small) based on real-life experience.

You can submit your completed entry online or by mail/fax. Only receipt of online entries can be acknowledged.

Questions? Call the Legacy Project at 1-800-772-7765 or e-mail us.

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