by Leslie Farin
This year was a particularly lonely one for my dad, who will turn 90 in two weeks. He lives out of state on the east coast, too far to drive, so in years past I flew out every six weeks or so, other than in January and February when the expectation of snow makes it difficult to plan.
Due to Covid-19, my last visit was in December 2019 on his 89th birthday. I planned to go in March, which didn’t happen. We talk on the phone and organize family zoom calls, but it’s not the same. He engages much more in conversation in person. Still, my siblings and I do all we can to keep him as connected as possible. But Dad needs more than we can give him right now. With the world pretty much shut down, we don’t have a whole lot of interesting personal news to share these days. As a result, our conversations are short and not all that interesting.
I was thrilled to find Virtual Companions, a national nonprofit pending 501(c)(3) status) that aims to reduce loneliness by connecting older and younger generations through conversation, service and the arts. I spoke at length with the founder, Gaby Li, a passionate and energetic college student at Stanford. Very impressed with her efforts, I decided not only to involve my dad, but to partner with them to help spread the word about this fantastic organization.
Virtual Companions offer a broad range or programs and currently engage with hundreds of people from seven different states. Their programs include: PhonePal, PenPal, Cards & Crafts and Virtual Concerts. If you know someone who might benefit from a phone call, letter, card, craft or concert, please let us know! This is also a wonderful feel-good opportunity for volunteers who want to help; it does not take a great deal of time and makes a huge difference in the lives of others – and no doubt will impact your life as well. Contact us to get involved!
Do you want to connect with and support other generations? Or do you want to nominate someone to join the Virtual Companions community? START NOW