Sometimes, being in the right place at the right time with the right people results in an opportunity that benefits all involved.
As a result of a chance meeting where members of the Hope Community Response Network (CRN) and the Read Right Society were in attendance, Connection Card Kits was shared with the community as part of a monthlong World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) campaign.
“This year, we chose to recognize WEAAD for the entire month of June,” says Kim Paolini, Coordinator for the Hope CRN and Community and Early Years Program Coordinator for Hope Community Services. “Sharlene (Harrison-Hinds) wrote a series of articles for the local paper and designed word searches specifically for our community’s seniors.”
Sharlene is one of BC CRN’s long-serving volunteers. (Read our profile on her on page 4 of our April 2017 edition.)
“Connection Card Kits was all her,” says Kim.
“I attend monthly Healthy Communities meeting as the BC CRN rep,” Sharlene explains. “At one of our meetings, Marion (Baker) from Read Right talked about card-making kits they were making. I was speaking about connecting vulnerable seniors. I then connected the dots: having people make the cards involves the community. Seniors receiving the cards helps them feel connected to the outside. The card then can become a lifeline during the pandemic when feelings of loneliness are high and safety is a concern.”
After the meeting, Sharlene contacted Marion with the idea to do a soft launch of their card-making kit as part of WEAAD. “The card kits had not been released to the public yet,” Sharlene adds. “So, right after I called Kim with the idea, we all worked together to give the kits a name, I wrote an article for the local paper to market it, and that was it.”
The kits were assembled by volunteers. “I also picked one up to try it out. I made a card, took a picture of it in my kitchen, and then included the photo with the article,” she says.
“Many of our seniors are not online, so a beautiful card is a wonderful, easy way to help connect them to another person,” says Kim.
“Connection is so important, especially to isolated seniors” continues Sharlene. “It’s about being visible and feeling like someone sees you. It says: ‘I exist.’”
“And, as a CRN, we like working with other agencies in town,” Kim says. “That’s what it’s about – connection and collaboration.”
For more information about the Hope CRN and their upcoming community activities, contact Kim Paolini at email@example.com.
If you are a CRN and you’re interested in making your own card-making kit, check out what BC CRN has available and submit your completed order form. We have blank greeting cards that can get you started!
 Marion is the community volunteer coordinator for the Read Right Society that serves the community of Hope and the surrounding area.
 Since the writing of this article, the Read Right Society has formally launched the card kits to the community.
(Header Photo: Sharlene Harrison-Hinds)