By Mo Cranker
Alta. Newspaper Group
The Community Foundation of South Eastern Alberta has created a program to remind people that they’re not alone.
The foundation started the Keep in Touch Program at the beginning of last month, and it gives people the chance to connect with another person on a regular basis.
“We launched the program thanks to funding from FCSS,” said volunteer co-ordinator Sydney Ratzlaff. “The goal of the program is to support people who feel isolated or lonely due to COVID-19.
“We’re utilizing volunteers to support people – anyone who feels they need it.”
Volunteers with the program are matched with people in the community based on their schedules, then times are set up for the two parties to call and chat.
“With the physical distance measures, a natural program that we came up with was phone call check-ins,” she said. “Volunteer Lethbridge has a very similar program, and we mirrored a lot of what they did.
“The point of the program is to connect people feeling isolated with a friendly voice.”
Phone call lengths can vary, and there is no mandatory time for people to take with their volunteer contact.
“Our volunteers are just members of our community who want to help out,” said Ratzlaff. “The volunteer may not have a degree in mental health, but they are a voice to speak with and an ear to listen.”
Ratzlaff is in charge of matching people with volunteers, and says there are a number of people using the program already.
“We have seven nurses starting with us soon, so our volunteer group is going to get even bigger,” she said. “I think we have 20 volunteers, and we have 10 participants so far.
“We’re hoping to spread the word on the program so people know they always have someone to talk to.”
For more information call CFSEA at 403-527-9038.