Special to the Sydenham Current
Social and physical isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic has been an ongoing challenge for everyone.
However, seniors – who often struggle with isolation in their day-to-day lives due to physical limitations or health challenges (such as dementia/Alzheimer’s), and issues related to static or lower incomes – are particularly vulnerable during this healthcare crisis.
In the Chatham-Kent community alone, there are 21 residences and 7 long term care homes for seniors – a combination of retirement and nursing homes with varying levels of care – in the local community.
This, of course, does not account for the number of seniors living alone or in other living arrangements.
It is estimated that the Chatham-Kent community has a senior and elderly population approaching 23,335 people, which is approximately 21% of the population and higher than the national average.
To help connect our community and improve the impact of social isolation on local seniors, United Way of Chatham-Kent, in partnership with VON Erie St. Clair, Big Brothers Big Sisters, CK Public Health, St. Clair Catholic School Board, Lambton-Kent District School Board, Riverview Gardens, and the Age Friendly Advisory Committee, are launching an initiative to bring student volunteers and seniors together – virtually.
“We want to combat the mental and physical health effects of social isolation in older adults and the youth of Chatham-Kent alike during this pandemic and beyond,” stated Cathy DeBresser Knowler, a Public Health Educator from CK Public Health, in a press release.
“There is no health without mental health. Studies show declining mental health can lead to a range of chronic diseases. Coexisting mental and physical conditions can diminish quality of life and lead to lingering illness duration and worse health outcomes. We’re hoping to bring comfort to those who may not have grandchildren or grandparents in an effort to create lifelong relationships.”
By building interactive and supportive relationships for both the seniors and the students, United Way of Chatham-Kent hopes to fosterer long-term relationships for these seniors and students.
This initiative will also help to support secondary school students who require 40 hours of volunteer time to graduate with their Ontario Secondary School Diploma, and post-secondary students who are hoping to receive the Canada Student Service Grant from the federal government.
In order to pair seniors with students, gigit community – a FREE, all-in one, social platform built especially for the volunteer and non-profit community that also gives back – will be providing the operating system for making this program a successful reality.
Since 2017, gigit has partnered with hundreds of non-profit and volunteer organizations to power volunteer initiatives, donor, and event management in Ontario, with particular focus on the Hamilton, Chatham-Kent, and Halton regions of the province.
In the Chatham-Kent community, gigit is a close partner of United Way of Chatham-Kent, powering their COVID-19 Local Love in a Global Pandemic community response. gigit has also partnered with various local school boards to provide the volunteer opportunities and support for high school students, as well as other local non-profit organizations.
gigit is like no other operational management platform available. Not only is it FREE to any organization, group, or business to use, but it also gives back to every organization, group, or business that uses it through a portion of gigit revenue generated via online transactions within the platform.
It replaces every other management platform organizations currently pay to use, turning an operating cost into a revenue line, and ensuring organizational budgets go to initiatives their communities need, rather than operational management programs.
In July 2020, gigit is set to launch its new release – an entirely overhauled operating platform that offers complete donor and donation management, volunteer management, calendar and scheduling functionality, event management, transactional storefronts, peer-to-peer fundraising, paid employee search and management, online resume creation, data and analytics, and so much more.
The new gigit gives communities better ways to connect – providing a hub for all community members to be found and to find each other.
If you are a high school or post-secondary school student who would like to register for this program, please visit: www.gigitstudent.com to register now.
If you are a non-profit or charitable organization looking for a FREE and more functional way to manage your donors, events, volunteers, fundraising, paid work, data and analytics, as well as receive a charitable donation from gigit based on your online transactions, please visit: www.gigitcommunity.com.
If you are a local business, group, activity, or event that needs an online presence, that would like to offer goods or services via an online store, that would like to support the idea of Shop Local within your community, that is searching for attendees or group members, or that needs to hire short term or part time paid workers, please visit: www.gigitwork.com.