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Hi! My name is Pablo, and I am a first-year medical student at UL. The past year has been challenging for everyone. However, quarantine measures have disproportionately impacted those living in long-term care and retirement facilities. Lockdown meant that some seniors could not leave their rooms for weeks and could not contact family and friends. In response, two of my friends Aliza Prodaniuk and Charmaine Holland created the Caring and Connecting Pen Pal Initiative (C&C Initiative).
The C&C Initiative is a virtual compassionate care program that aims to mitigate feelings of loneliness and isolation in residents living in retirement and long-term care facilities across Canada. The program allows community volunteers to write letters of kindness to seniors from wherever they feel comfortable. C&C Initiative connects these letters with long-term care facilities for distribution. From inception in March 2020, the C&C Initiative has grown to serve over 50 facilities and has received over 1000 letters from penpals globally. From a recent quality assurance survey, one recreational director said:
“The residents and staff have thoroughly enjoyed the letters. Many residents keep the letters to read over and over to enhance positive emotions. Thank you for taking the time to write, collect and share these letters.”
I helped develop and progress the program from the start, helping to make spreadsheets and offer ideas for expansion. In July 2020, I took on an executive role as Lead Editor, managing letter-editors and putting together packages to go out to homes. I also helped facilitate the creation of a year-in-review eBook for volunteers. I have been fortunate to stay involved while attending school here at UL.
If you want to write a letter or even start a similar initiative in your community, please reach out! You can help make a difference!
Personal Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
C&C Initiative: email@example.com
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