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"Friendship at Heart" Program
Release Date: March 15, 2017

NORWESCAP/Skylands RSVP with Sussex County Division of Senior Services "Friendship at Heart" Program Calls for Volunteers!

Newton, NJ - Without the stimulation that social interaction and friendship provide, an isolated elder or disabled individual can experience poor health, a lack of strength and energy, depression, and other physical, emotional, and mental health problems. YOU can help change all of that!

NORWESCAP/Skylands RSVP Volunteer Resource Center is collaborating with the Sussex County Division of Senior Services to bring "Friendship at Heart" to Sussex County. Comprised of two free services - Telephone Reassurance and Friendly Visitor, the program is designed to provide peace of mind for homebound Sussex County residents and their families. For isolated seniors ages 60+ and disabled persons ages 21+, the program provides much-needed friendship, support, and the stimulation needed to fight depression, loneliness, and various other physical, emotional, and mental health problems.

The Friendly Visitor service is looking to recruit volunteers to make weekly visits to homebound seniors and disabled persons within Sussex County. Intended to provide companionship and socialization for the participants, these relationships can often lead to instant connections lending themselves to lifelong friendships. As a Friendly Visitor volunteer, you would visit with your new friend for an hour or two each week. During your visit, you can play games, read books, watch movies, share life stories over a meal, go for a walk, explore new or common interests and hobbies, laugh, provide friendship, and lend a listening ear. The possibilities of friendship are endless!

The Telephone Reassurance service is also looking to recruit volunteers to make regular phone calls to homebound seniors and disabled persons throughout Sussex County. Phone calls can range anywhere from 15-30 minutes and can are made from a Telephone Reassurance call site. Telephone Reassurance volunteers can speak with their new friends about the weather, current events, historic events, or just catch up on the day's happenings.

The two requirements to become a Friendly Visitor are to be aged 55 or older and wanting to make a positive difference on another's life. You will only be asked to give one or two hours a week and will be supported and encouraged by the RSVP staff. You will receive training and supervision to assist you in handling any questions or concerns that might arise during your visits. Consideration is given to matching you with a person whom you are comfortable and have similar interests.

The Northwest NJ Community Action Partnership (NORWESCAP) provides a portfolio of emergency services and other initiatives that lead to self-reliance to over 35,000 under-resourced persons in Hunterdon, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex and Warren Counties. The agency manages over 35 million dollars from 60 different sources, plus investments from over 300 community partners. A diverse 15 member Board of Trustees, 250 employees and 1400 volunteers are dedicated to their mission; "strengthening communities by creating opportunities to impact poverty." The Sussex County Division of Senior Services assists seniors and their caregivers by providing a coordinated system of services that enable them to live as independently as possible in their homes and communities for as long as possible.

If you know anyone who could benefit from Friendship at Heart as a volunteer or a participant, call Nicole Friedberg at (973)-579-0555 ext. 1293 or via email at VISTA@sussex.nj.us. If you would like to learn about all of NORWESCAP's programs, please visit www.norwescap.org arrow icon, email us at rsvp@norwescap.org or call 973-784-4900. For resources from the Division of Senior Services, call (973)-579-0555 or email seniorservices@sussex.nj.us.

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