We Are Needed, Can You Help? by Bob Lowry
A few weeks ago I shared information with you about an exciting new project that has the potential to address a serious problem for many retirees— the need for more positive and frequent human connection. That post, We Just Need A Good Listener, generated very positive feedback. The founders of the Happiness project reviewed your responses and then discussed their implications with me.
I find it exciting that this national program is being shaped, in part, by the feedback from readers of Satisfying Journey. Your ideas and concerns are directly affecting the likelihood of success.
Now, the project coordinators are asking for our help again: they are asking that we make a call to one of their volunteers. Talk with that person about your life and any struggles or concerns you have, along with an overview of how your retirement journey is going. You can share as little or as much as you want. The length of that conversation is up to you, but most range from 30-45 minutes. Shorter is fine, and longer is OK. too.
It is fine to say you were prompted to call after reading about the program on a blog, but try to engage with the person as realistically as possible. You are not “testing” them as much as being someone who responds to their web site invitation to see what it is like.
Then, I ask that you email me with your reaction to that call. Was it easy to set up the phone call? How comfortable did you feel with the person who answered the call? Did you get the sense that they were really listening to you? Did they offer suggestions and follow up to anything you talked about, or were they simply good listeners? Were you uncomfortable at all with the process? Would you recommend this service to someone you know who is lonely, isolated, or has few friends and would welcome some human conversation?
What will happen with your feedback is more refinement of the service. Your name and email address will not be shared with the project directors. They are simply interested in real call testing of the offering. Your experience, both positive and negative, will be very, very important.
It’s really easy. Just click on either of the following links, and indicate when you’d be available for a call with a compassionate listener. Calls are anonymous and scheduled at your convenience.
I also encourage you to share the link with anyone you know who might benefit from a conversation with a compassionate listener and would be willing to provide me with some feedback.
If you check out their site and decide not to call, I know the project team would love to hear about any thoughts or concerns that kept you from giving it a try — please email me those as well. That feedback will be just as important.
Several prominent organizations are taking notice of this effort. Collaboration with Mental Health America (www.mentalhealthamerica.net/), a national organization dedicated to improving the mental health of all Americans, is being explored. They’re also investigating partnerships with profession-oriented entities who feel their members would benefit from this service, including Above the Law (for lawyers), American Nurses Association and a number of personal development advocates.