This year has been difficult for many people. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, everyone had to isolate themselves from one another. Although many of us younger people could slowly start being around each other again (with the regulations), many older people are still having to isolate themselves to protect their health. Last semester, I was serving at the DuBard School for Language Disorders on USM’s campus, but unfortunately, they stopped allowing volunteers to come due to the pandemic. I was lost as to how I would continue to serve, but then I found Letters Against Isolation.
Letters Against Isolation is a non-profit volunteer service that sends letters to self-isolating seniors in nursing homes, assisted living centers, memory care centers, etc. in hopes to brighten their days and spread some joy during these hard times. If you are interested in volunteering, you begin by filling out a form about yourself and why you are interested. They will then send you a follow up email and your ID number. Every other week they will send an email containing a spreadsheet that allows you to sign up to send letters to any of the care homes they serve. You will then choose where you would like to send your letter(s). Finally, the fun part of actually writing the letters! Once you write them, you then address them and mail them to the address given.
Throughout this experience, I have learned more about myself, others, and humanity as a whole. I have learned to be more selfless and caring. I believe we sometimes fail to realize how simple acts of kindness can make all the difference in someone’s life. I have become more aware that just because my life has gotten a sense of normalcy back, does not mean others’ lives have. I gained a greater sense of hope in others as well. I learned that there are other caring people in this sometimes-cruel world.
For example, one week when I logged on to sign up in the spreadsheet, it was already full! I was completely shocked and in awe of how many people were taking the time out of their busy lives to brighten someone else’s. Although this experience did not give me much insight into Speech-Language Pathology, it helped shape me into a more humble and caring person. It allowed me to be proud knowing that I was helping others, even if it was “just a few letters.” A few letters that can make a positive impact on someone’s day are a few letters I do not mind writing! If someone else would like to volunteer with this organization (which I highly recommend they do), they just need to visit lettersagainstisolation.com, fill out the personal information form, and they are on their way to brightening someone’s day!
Kelli Cruthirds is a junior majoring in speech pathology and audiology.