To adapt to the post-pandemic world, Youth Service Opportunities Project (YSOP) launched a new program called YSOP Connex that facilitates virtual meetings between young people and senior citizens from anywhere in the country. Connex brings students and seniors together in small groups to connect, converse, and learn through virtual conversations and in-person service projects.
Connex ran virtual programs non-stop through the spring. Small groups of youth and seniors connected in conversation using video calls to talk about their lives, dreams, and hopes. Participants built relationships during their multi-week programs as they learned from each other. Because of the use of virtual tools like Zoom, people were able to join from all over, unrestricted by geography and broadening everyone’s sense of community.
During the summer months, volunteers came together in person in Pelham, N.Y., to make blankets for children living in temporary shelters. The projects allowed youth and senior volunteers to meet in person and forge connections with their local community members. This type of project was new to YSOP Connex, and met with great success.