Journey of Faith Christian Church, Ann Arbor, MI
Over the past two years, Journey of Faith Christian Church has cultivated relationships with community members, ecumenical communities, and social services agencies throughout Washtenaw County, Michigan, to establish a network of resources to support seniors. Most of this foundational work has been accomplished by a few dedicated individuals. The grant funding from NBA will increase their impact by creating a formalized program, Senior Connections, to improve the wellbeing of older adults throughout Washtenaw County. Each partnering faith community will choose a 'Community Champion' to be trained on the particular needs of seniors in their respective communities and the specific resources available to address them. These trained Champions will be equipped to build better linkages between their congregation and its senior members, the congregation's senior neighbors, and the myriad of resources for older adults that already exist in the county.
Concurrently, Journey of Faith Christian Church will train community members both within and outside its congregation to serve as 'Friendly Visitors' to visit with one or more seniors, once a week, to provide companionship. This training will include teaching on active listening, “how to help, not harm,” and a condensed version of the resource training that the Community Champions receive. These Friendly Visitors will meet once a month to share stories, struggles, and support with the supervision of a trained facilitator. The long-term goal of this project is to build and support more volunteer cohorts from various supporting congregations. The Senior Connections project team will curate a program resource catalogue, including an online database, website, and regular information/learning sessions. While Journey of Faith recognizes that there are many people doing a lot of good work, their project is about considering ways that a more integrated system might improve seniors' well-being.
Mission Area: Older Adults
Innovation Grant: US $10,000