Helping People Feel Connected
COVID-19 and all the changes associated with it have made it challenging for people to remain feeling connected to others in their community. With people not able to go out as often or see friends and family in person regularly, feelings of boredom, isolation, and loneliness can creep in. This is why we, at Skills Society, are spearheading a new Virtual Community Building Initiative. Below is a description of the initiative and how the people we serve can get involved.
Introducing the Virtual CommuniTEA Infusion Project!
You may be familiar with our CommuniTEA Infusion Project – an innovative community building initiative run by Skills Society. At the heart of the CommuniTEA Infusion project, is a desire to spark connections amongst community members, laying the foundation for feelings of inclusion and belonging.
Normally, CommuniTEA is a mobile tea house that travels to neighbourhoods around our city — creating a “pop-up” town square where people come together, get to know each other and strengthen connections. This year, due to social distancing requirements related to COVID-19, in person gatherings are not possible. SO we have decided to take the CommuniTEA Infusion Project online! Just like before we will be here building community and helping people stay connected – only this year, it will look a little different!
How the people we support can get involved
Become a Virtual Community Builder
A Virtual Community Builder (VCB) is someone we support who is friendly, interested in having conversation with others to brighten up their day, and excited to meet new people “virtually”. They are conversation stewards – connecting with other people within Skills through informal ‘tea time’ chats using an online platform called “Zoom”. VCBs will be supported by a Skills staff in their role, are required to participate in an orientation, and will be paid an honorarium for each conversation they steward.
Sign up for a Virtual ‘Tea Time’ Chat with a Community Builder
People we support who may be feeling socially disconnected, bored, or lonely, can sign up for a virtual ‘tea time’ chat with a community builder. A Virtual Community Builder will arrange a time to connect with the person online over a platform called Zoom. Together they can chat, have tea, and maybe even play some games.
Participate in CommuniTEA Connection Events
Beginning in May, there will be weekly facilitated Virtual Events that the people we support can join in on. These will include things like preparing a treat together, having a conversation around a specific topic, or doing a guided art project. A schedule of events for May is below and can be found on our website at: www.skillssociety.ca/covid-19-resources. These events are hosted by Jessica, community volunteers, or people we serve – anyone who has a special skill or talent they would like to share with the Skills community!
To Get Involved
If someone you care about or support is (1) interested in becoming a Virtual Community Builder, (2) interested in signing up for a virtual chat with a community builder, or (3) interested in registering for one of the CommuniTEA Connection events please email Jessica at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 306-450-3168.
Keep Up with What’s Happening
We will include regular updates about what’s going on with the Virtual CommuniTEA Project on our website at: www.skillssociety.ca/covid-19-resources. Here you can find the latest CommuniTEA Connection Event schedules as well as videos and printable flyers on the initiative.
Questions or Want to Learn More?
If you have questions about the initiative, would like to learn more, or would like to sign up to participate in one or more ways, you can be in touch with Jessica or Paige.
Jessica Tai, Virtual CommuniTEA Infusion Coordinator
Paige Reeves, Senior Leader of Research & Social Innovation