It is often said that challenging times can bring out the best in people.
During the last few weeks, the staff and volunteers at Immigrant Service Guelph-Wellington have certainly stepped up to the plate and put their best foot forward during a global pandemic − a crisis that no one ever imagined would have such an impact on how we work and how we engage with the people we serve.
While many people have the support of their family and friends to cope with self-isolation, there are many Guelph newcomers who do not. Our newcomer, senior community in particular is having some difficulty with the recent changes to our service delivery. Many may not be computer-literate which makes accessing our online sessions difficult. While the days of chatting in person are temporarily on hold, we all need some form of human contact. Social and physical distancing does not mean you have to face the challenges of COVID-19 alone. ISGW believes we can all get through this difficult time together.
That’s why our staff and volunteers started to look “outside the box” and re-designed how we deliver many of our services. Because we wanted to let our seniors know we care about their mental health and wellbeing, we launched Seniors’ Wellbeing Check-ins. This program matches volunteers with ISGW clients over the age of 60 for a short, friendly, check-in call. Our aim is to match clients with volunteers who speak the same language.
There is so much our volunteers can help with during this type of phone call. Whether it is to find out if they need an interpreter for medical appointments, sign up for one of our virtual classes or simply to tell someone what movie they watched on Netflix. We are here to listen.
ISGW remains focused on providing the best possible service to our clients under the circumstances and our hope remains steadfast that this crisis too shall pass. If you are looking for a way to give back to the community, we are looking for volunteers to be matched with seniors for check-in calls. It only takes a few minutes to pick up the phone and show someone they are not alone. If you are interested in helping us help others, please contact Sreeja Venugopal, Volunteer Mobilizer at firstname.lastname@example.org