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Hear Here: Serendipity on the airwaves

Audrey Dilling

The 81st Avenue Library is connected to two small elementary schools. So you can imagine how this place is abuzz with loud voices and tiny feet.

“I’ve been able to meet all these wonderful children and fifth graders, and I don’t have children of my own, so it’s a pleasure for me to be able to be a part of a child’s life and to meet kids and to just experience how wonderful they can be, especially the fifth graders,” says Senior Library Assistant, Anthony Propernick.

Propernick has been one of the people helping KALW’s Hear Herecommunity storytelling team connect with residents all over San Francisco and Oakland.

“There’s one in particular, Lita. Lita is going into the fifth grade and when I first met her, she was looking for cookbooks,” remembers Propernick. The librarian started a conversation about cooking with then-fourth-grader Lita Hernandez, and that chat turned into a great friendship.

“I’ve learned so much from her,” says Propernick. “I’ve learned so much from sort of the inquiry, the navigating all these things for the first time that I’ve often taken for granted ... so to have those conversations with Lita has been really special.”

KALW’s Hear Here producers met Lita Hernandez in July, recorded her story, and broadcast it right on Crosscurrents in early August. Someone heard that story and gave our producers a call, which set off a series of events that may completely end up changing Lita’s life.

This is Lita’s story, and the surprising events that came afterward.

This story is a part of Hear Here: A Pop-Up Radio Project. What's your favorite neighborhood spot? Your kitchen? Corner store? Park? Let our Hear Here producers know by visiting the project’s website and clicking on "PARTICIPATE." You can also find the project on Facebook or follow it on Twitter @hearhereradio.

Erica Mu is a reporter and producer for the "Hear Here: A Pop-Up Radio Project" in conjunction with KALW and the Association of Independents in Radio. Mu has reported on the serious side of health and the quirky side of arts, and she's also helped KALW pioneer the digital frontier as the news team’s web strategist and editor. Mu has also organized and directed KALW’s live storytelling events.