Better Together at the Holidays

The holidays are a time of so many fun and festive traditions. One Christmas tradition which is always20151221_153702 underrated is the exchange of Christmas cards. Everyone talks about presents, caroling, or holiday cookies and feasts, but who does not like to open their mailbox to a Christmas card? Is this familiar…bill, credit card offer, bill…Christmas card!?

They could be from friends, coworkers, or even the cousin you have not spoken to in a better part of a decade that somehow always gets their Christmas card out in EARLY December. You know the one. These enveloped sentiments tell us “Listen, someone out there was thinking about you.”

We do not always take notice of how much Christmas cards can bring small joy, but imagine a year going by without receiving a card. Imagine opening your mailbox day after day after day around the holiday season with none of these to look forward to.

One of the unfortunate effects of getting older is facing a reality in which your Christmas card list begins to diminish and dwindle. The holiday season can be a sobering reminder of those who have left, and how much life has changed.

Better Together matches adults over the age of 65 who might be experiencing some of these life changes to a volunteer individual, couple, or family, to spend 4 hours per month socializing with each other. Since beginning early this year, Better Together has matched over 20 Sioux Falls-area seniors with volunteers to begin exciting friendships. Recently, matches have been watching favorite Christmas movies while drinking hot cocoa, going Christmas shopping, and even enjoying light shows.

While these matches are enjoying their time together, there are some seniors in the Better Together program who are waiting for the perfect volunteer to come along. Here are some of their stories:

  • A woman in her early 70’s who lives in Brandon and was recently widowed would love to meet a new friend. Art is one of her hobbies, and she would like to share some of her drawings with a volunteer, as well as make more.  She also has a small dog she would love to introduce to a new friend.
  • A man in his upper 70’s who had an aneurysm 25 years ago which left him confined to a wheelchair. He is a very outgoing individual, but weekends feel a little lonely. He would like a volunteer to chat, go for a walk, or share a book of inspirational poems he has written with.
  • A man in his early 80’s who is a widowed Air Force veteran and lives alone. He is very interested in going to different community events around Sioux Falls, but has no one to go with.
  • A couple in their upper 60’s who moved to Sioux Falls from Nepal just under two years ago. They would love to make friends with another couple to learn more about Sioux Falls, and the customs of America, but due to speaking limited English, this has been difficult.
  • A man in his mid 70’s who retired from the US Navy, has many hobbies, and is a self-professed “tinkerer,” would love to share some of these hobbies with a volunteer, or grab a bite to eat and some coffee.

These are just a few of the remarkable seniors waiting to be matched in the Better Together program. If you (or someone you know) would like to begin a friendship with a senior in this program, please contact us at mentoring@lsssd.org, or visit the Better Together Website. Four hours per month and a new friendship can make a world of difference in the life of a senior. Maybe by next Christmas, they will be eagerly waiting for a Christmas card from you!

Ben Gloor
Better Together Coordinator

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