New Friendships Reduce Social Isolation

For those who were socially isolated prior to the pandemic, feelings of loneliness increased during the pandemic. This loss of social connection continues today for many of our seniors. We can help with a simple phone call or a visit with someone who is isolated and alone.

Last year, in partnership with the National Council of Jewish Woman- Toronto we launched the NCJWC Toronto – Betel Buddy program. Volunteers from the Council were partnered with Betel Centre members to engage in a weekly friendly telephone visit.

This pilot program was so successful that we have decided to continue the program. In addition to weekly phone calls, we are expanding the program to include in-home visits. Volunteers and seniors can share a cup of tea and conversation; engage in common interests and activities or go for a short walk. The Betel Community Support Services staff team will assist in the assessment and matching of volunteers with seniors.  All volunteers will be screened and trained.

Here are some observations from our pilot program volunteers.

“It was fun getting to know someone new with different life experiences.  We have learned many things from each other.”

“I was surprised that my senior thought I had a whole list of people to call and I think she felt special when I explained that she was my only Betel Buddy.”

“Sometimes we had more to talk about than other times.  She really used our time to talk about her life or what was going on that week.”

If you or you know someone who would enjoy and benefit from this social connection, please contact Sharon Chodirker at or Cheryl Besner at

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