You are classified as a senior and if you do not speak a word of English, you have a problem. At one point in time, this problem may have been thought to be restricted to the older adult population and to individuals who do not speak English. However, through their outreach efforts, they have learned that this problem is not limited by age and background. Beyond the Conversation has brought light to the fact that this problem, social isolation, is inter generational.
Beyond the Conversation started out as wanting to address one of the biggest identified risk factors for social isolation among older adults – language barriers. This non-profit facilitated community sessions for people to develop their English literacy with others.
Visionary leader, Amie Peacock, explained their process best using the analogy of a bus.
The bus driver, are the people, who help carry out the mission of Beyond the Conversation.
The seats, are the potential goals, roles and life purposes that are yet to be discovered.
The passengers, are of course, the people, who make use of Beyond the Conversation.
There are many different seats and places to go to on a bus. Often, passengers independently attempt to find a seat or a comfortable place to stand. However, when a passenger has trouble with finding a place, this is where a bus driver may be able to help.
Over time the establishment continues to adapt by learning and observing those they assist. What started as just providing English classes, has now evolved to help those same people and more, overcome other risk factors to social isolation such as self-esteem.
Beyond the Conversation strives to foster healthy relationships and a sense of belonging in the community. They encourage people to step away from the “no one wants or needs me anymore” mentality. Instead, they give people the opportunity to invest in themselves through learning and teaching one another.
Looking forward to the remainder of the 2018 year, the following are some planned milestones and projects to look out for from Beyond the Conversation:
[ ] 10 more potential branches in different communities
[ ] a walkathon in the Fall season
[ ] a pilot high school support group where students will be challenged to dream big
[ ] new logo to go along with their new brand
Note: 1. Beyond the Conversation was established in Vancouver, British Columbia. (Canada).
2. Discovered through CharityVillage.
3. One interesting volunteer opportunity I learned about was the ‘Sunshine Ambassador’. A woman nearing retirement learned of Sunshine Ambassador through Peacock’s former role, when it was called the “Sunshine Lady”. With a gift for making cards and a insightful conversation, together they developed the present Beyond the Conversation’s Sunshine Ambassador. This volunteer is responsible for making cards for people who need them.