April 2, 2020
In a time where social distancing is becoming the new norm, the need for social connection has never been stronger.
Emotional connectivity is a large part of humanity and essential to nearly every aspect of one’s overall well-being. But with the COVID-19 outbreak, the lack of human interaction can result in loneliness – especially for our community’s most vulnerable.
Thanks to a network of student volunteers, self-isolation doesn’t have to mean feeling alone, and they’re trying to spread that message one phone call at a time.
Two college students, Kayla Nakeeb and Ethan McAndrews, created a network with their friends called Phone-A-Friend, in hopes to provide social and emotional relief to seniors during this pandemic.
“Self-isolating can feel really lonely,” Nakeeb said. “And if I’m feeling lonely in a house full of other people, just imagine how lonely seniors are feeling living by themselves.”
Phone-A-Friend consists of student volunteers calling to check in and provide free service requests for seniors living in Hamilton County.
Their network is divided into two teams: The Talk Team and the Task Team.
The goal of the talk team is to create a sense of community, while abiding by the stay-at-home order. Volunteers simply check-in with and talk to senior citizens who are by themselves and are unable to leave their homes.
The task team fulfills simple errands and services needed by the seniors during weekly phone calls. These can include grocery store runs, pharmacy prescription pickups, basic lawn work, and even dog walking. All errands are “no contact”, and all task members monitor their health regularly.
“Genuinely listening to someone is an act of kindness,” Nakeeb said. “We hope that with these conversations, both students and seniors will feel less alone and more connected. Fifteen minutes of being kind twice a week can make you feel a lot better, especially in a world that feels out of our control.”
Interested in becoming a volunteer? Sign-up here.