Facilitators of a program that launched with an aim to connect and support people who are lonely or isolated are on the hunt for more individuals who have a story to tell.
The free, eight-week SurreyShares program – supported by the Surrey Intercultural Seniors Social Inclusion Partnership Network and UNITI – engages participants in goal-setting, personal-growth exercises and public speaking, culminating in each telling a personal story that is recorded for them to use and share.
“In this program we do a deep dive into who you are and what you’d like out of your next chapter in life,” a Facebook post explains. “Together, we set goals and come up with tangible action plans.”
Set for April 25 to June 17, the program was first introduced two years ago, after being adapted to be held online and over the phone due to pandemic-related restrictions on in-person activities.
Initially open only to those aged 55 years and older, it became more of an intergenerational project last year when it was expanded to include people as young as 18.
Changes added for this sixth cohort include the shortened length – it was 12 weeks last year – the creation of a volunteer social committee to plan monthly events for program alumni; and the option for participants to have their story published in an anthology.
The schedule includes group coaching sessions from 3-4 p.m. on Mondays, eight one-to-one sessions with a life coach; several one-to-one sessions with a speaking coach; and more.
So far, 40 people have gone through the program, which is funded by a federal New Horizons for Seniors grant.
Several participants have had their storytelling videos posted to the SurreyShares YouTube channel.
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