High Schoolers Crowdsource Joy For Isolated Seniors Via New Phone Hotline

High school students in Canada are crowdsourcing joy for older people feeling the strain of coronavirus isolation.

The students have created a telephone hotline, 1-877-JOY-4ALL, which offers pre-recorded messages of positivity, including jokes, stories, kind messages, letters, songs and poetry, with the goal of helping those struggling with isolation.

The Joy4All Project launched Friday, according to its website, and is seeking recorded submissions from people who want to lend a hand in brightening someone’s day. 

The initiative is run by 21 Calgary high school students enrolled in a recreational leadership program called Ever Active Schools.

“We are looking to connect seniors and those in isolation with the voices of kids and youth,” the project posted on its Instagram page. “When you call, you’ll hear kind words, stories, and humour from local kids and youth who want to spread messages of hope and connection in these times of isolation.”

Jared Quinn, a senior at the school, told CBC News he hopes the initiative can bridge some intergenerational divides.

“I think we can learn a lot of respect for each other and a lot of wisdom from our elders in the community,” Quinn said.

He said his drew on his own experiences with isolation, mental health and his grandparents’ mental health as motives for his participation, LiveWireCalgary reported.

Ali Ahmad, another student behind the project, told LiveWireCalgary he wanted to make a difference during the pandemic.

“Through this project, we will be able to show our appreciation to people that are self-isolating and give them something they can always look forward to in their day. Hopefully, it can lighten the mood and help save lives,” Ahmad said.

The students intend to do outreach in senior care homes and hospitals, but also to families who are trapped at home. They also plan to include multilingual messages and stories to reach a more diverse audience.

To submit a message, visit the Joy4All site.

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