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Coronavirus: Calgary students launch joyful hotline for isolated seniors

U of C students are hosting an electronics drive to help isolated seniors and vulnerable populations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
U of C students are hosting an electronics drive to help isolated seniors and vulnerable populations amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Getty Images

A joke a day helps keep isolation blues away, that’s the idea behind a new positive message hotline created for seniors by a group of Calgary high schoolers.

The Joy4all hotline offers pre-recorded messages of kindness, jokes, stories and positive poems to those in isolation amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

READ MORE: COVID-19 information hotline launched for seniors in Calgary

The project is run by students from the recreational leadership program with Ever Active Schools, as part of a volunteer opportunity.

“This project was born out of awesome student ideas and creativity,” Jamie Anderson, a teacher with the program, said in an interview with 770 CHQR.

“It came from responding to the needs of the community, especially with the unfortunate news in Calgary where we’ve heard of a lot of difficulties with senior homes and services.”

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The hotline is updated on a daily basis with new pre-recorded messages for anyone self-isolating and looking for a quick pick-me-up, Anderson said.

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“When you make the phone call, you’ll hear a welcome greeting and you’ll be given a few options that you can select. We are trying to update our content daily,” he said.

LISTEN: Calgary high school students launch a positive message hotline for isolated seniors

Anderson added that students are asking for help from the community to keep these messages updated.

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“We’re really leaning on our community. We know there are a lot of folks at home looking for things to do with their kids and we think this is an opportunity for young people to showcase their voice,” Anderson said.

“We would love for contributions from the community because we think that this is such a cool opportunity to stay connected with one and other amidst these changing and difficult circumstances.”

Anderson said this volunteer project has already generated a positive response from community members since its launch on April 10.

Dr. Hinshaw asks people to show #AlbertaCares during COVID-19 pandemic
Dr. Hinshaw asks people to show #AlbertaCares during COVID-19 pandemic

Sixteen-year-old student, Ali Ahmad, said being a part of this project has been a fulfilling experience.

“Through this project, we’re able to show our appreciation to people that are self-isolating and give them something they can always look forward to in their day,” he said.

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“Hopefully it can lighten the mood and help save lives.”

READ MORE: Make time to take care of your mental health during COVID-19 pandemic

The hotline is accessible to Calgary residents by calling 403-209-4300, anyone outside the city can also access the service by dialing the toll-free number at 1-877-JOY-4ALL.

To submit your own written or recorded content for the hotline, you can visit the projects’ website or Instagram page.