Feeling lonely? New program in Midland connects community to phone calls to fight loneliness and isolation

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MIDLAND, MI – A new program was recently launched in Midland to help residents overcome loneliness while creating new friendships.

Dubbed “Friendly Connections,” the program aims to build bridges by bringing together members of the Midland County community and helping them connect for 2 to 3 hours per month over the phone.

The program was made possible through the joint efforts of community partners such as MyMichigan Health, Senior Services, 2-1-1 of Northeast Michigan, Midland Area Wellbeing Coalition and United Way of Midland County.

“A sense of belonging contributes significantly to our well-being,” said Kathy Snyder, coordinator of the Midland Area Wellbeing Coalition. “Friendly Connections is an innovative way to foster connections and increase belonging to our entire community. “

Organizations in Midland noted that loneliness and isolation were already on the rise before the COVID-19 pandemic, but the pandemic has heightened feelings of disconnection, loneliness and loss of hope.

In a regional survey conducted by MyMichigan Health, more than 47% of its respondents indicated that they struggle with loneliness.

The program will be hosted at 2-1-1 Northeast Michigan.

The matches will be made by a “Connections Coach” on the basis of interviews with the candidates to find common interests. Community members have the option of joining the program as a Level 1 or Level 2 volunteer.

All connections will have at least one Level 2 volunteer, which includes a background check and additional online training.

Throughout each month, matches will then have the option to connect by phone to discuss topics such as common interests, what’s going on in their lives, and why they might need support and support. ‘additional help.

The goal is to establish a caring relationship between the twinned couple and to help alleviate loneliness, fuel connection and keep our neighbors connected to the community, according to Centraide.

“I am thrilled that Friendly Connections is being introduced to our community,” said Jeremy Screws, Northeast Michigan 2-1-1 Connections Manager. “I hope this will be a great resource for individuals to connect with others and create a sense of belonging in the Midland community.”

Those who want to know more or are interested in volunteering can register on 211connectionsamicales.org.

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