Helping kids value their own voices and the voices of others.

Once Upon Our Time Capsule leverages the time-honored tradition of the time capsule to engage youth in documenting, sharing, and amplifying their stories. We help kids value their own voices and the voices of others, building a generation of confident, connected, and empathetic youth.

Founder Stacey Gillett instructs a kid at an in person event.
A young girl smiles into the camera held by a volunteer's tripod.
A close up of an Our Time Capsule participant signing her crayon drawing.

There’s a lot going on in the world: the lingering impacts of pandemic, intense polarization, rise in everyday gun violence and the breakneck speed of social media and news.

A volunteer in an OUOTC t-shirt help's kids at an in person event.
A group of children and a volunteer record another boy sitting on a colorful bench.

What We Do

Every year, we create a Youth Time Capsule documenting the voices, experiences and perspectives of kids. In a spin on the traditional time capsule, these stories are accessible for learning and discovery before being digitally preserved.

Document

We partner with schools, families and out-of-school organizations (e.g. libraries and summer camps) to document kids' stories using an experiential curriculum, aligned with core Social and Emotional Learning principles.

Share

We share kids' stories on our digital online platform - "The Time Capsule" and then leverage in-person and online ways of exchanging stories and building relationships across communities.

Amplify

We amplify what we hear from kids through creative means to raise awareness of their experiences and perspectives.

Why We Do It

Kids are grappling with a lot: the lingering impacts of the pandemic, rise in gun violence, social media, and alarming, polarizing news headlines. A lot of it is hard to process. Kids are doing their best to navigate through it all.

Yet, we know they are struggling.

The good news is that we have ways of helping. By supporting kids to process their experiences and emotions, and to learn from the experiences of others, we can support their healthy social-emotional development.

Serving Youth At a Critical Stage

We focus on youth ages 9-14 - the developmental stage when kids are becoming more independent, begin to see the point of others more clearly, and encounter a range of significant - and often challenging - emotional and social changes.

Annual Youth Time Capsule

2021

The 2021 Youth Time Capsule was developed in partnership with 40 youth-serving organizations across Chicago. They worked to engage their kids in documenting their stories of living through the pandemic.

Sealed

2022

The 2022 Youth Time Capsule is being developed in partnership with youth-serving organizations in Chicago and Oakland. Partners are helping their kids document their stories of 2022.

Accepting Capsules

Once Upon Our Time Capsule partners have access to the Youth Time Capsule and can explore the stories submitted by children. Please reach out for partner opportunities.