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BBBSND expands to include seniors

AMY STEVENSON, Digital Marketing & Communications Coordinator, BBBSND

SCUGOG: Feelings of disconnection and loneliness are pandemic trademarks. Because our young people and the elderly have been especially susceptible to feelings of depression and anxiety, Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Durham (BBBSND) has launched a new leadership and inclusion program for children, youth and seniors. The goal is to reduce or avoid the risks associated with societal barriers, adversities, loneliness and social isolation in both of these vulnerable populations.

The Seniors Community Connection (SCC) will connect residents in local seniors’ homes in Uxbridge, Scugog and Brock Townships with a local child or youth for one year. Matches will positively contribute to the well-being of others, as they participate in two activities per month.

Activities can include, but are not limited to: virtual Zoom calls, virtual craft or activity sessions, in-person window meetings (as permitted), telephone calls, and personalized or themed gift basket exchanges. One activity must include hand or typewritten correspondence. We are looking forward to a time when restrictions lift, and our youth and senior matches will be able to meet in person! There is no cost to program participants, as activity supplies are paid for by the program funding.

“We are so excited to bring this unique program to North Durham. Youth and seniors in our community, [who] have been affected by social isolation over this pandemic. Our goal is to help improve their mental health and well-being, while creating intergenerational connections”, says BBBSND Executive Director Margaret Ayres. Throughout the process, our matches will be supported by BBBSND program staff, which will include making the match, regular check-ins and ideas for activities. Seniors in the program will be supported by staff at their residences. Children and youth will be supported by their parent(s), guardian(s) or mentor (if they are already in a BBBS program).

“Making our communities more vibrant by connecting children, youth, and seniors is particularly exciting because of the many benefits for everyone involved. Personal growth, increased feelings of accomplishment, and higher levels of life satisfaction are just a few of these,” said Program Manager, Cheryl Doyle.

There are seniors waiting for matches! Participation in the SCC is open to any child or youth in North Durham. Registration with the agency is not required. We want to hear from you if you know a young person who would benefit from a mentoring relationship. Our program staff are ready to make these unique matches!

Visit our website for more information on the program or to complete an initial intake form, at northdurham.bigbrothersbigsisters.ca/scc .

The SCC is funded, in part, by the Government of Canada’s New Horizons For Seniors Program.

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