The Front Porch Communities Foundation’s Celtic Cup Golf Tournament was started in 2012 to raise funds for seniors in need. This year’s golf tournament will take place August 8, 2022, at the Berkeley Country Club overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. Funds raised will benefit Front Porch’s Community Services division, which focuses on four areas of impact: food security, stable housing, creative engagement, and social connection.
The Community Services division has grown over the years to provide five flagship programs:
- Market Day, providing fresh fruits and vegetables in a market setting in affordable housing communities, senior centers, and churches.
- Home Match, connecting homeowners and home seekers to create financial stability and social connection.
- Creative Spark, encouraging creativity and inspiration to broaden perspectives and enhance life.
- Social Call, creating one-on-one matches by phone for weekly conversations and lasting friendships.
- Well Connected/Well Connected Español, offering classes, groups and sessions by phone and computer, to create shared experiences, learning and personal growth.
The isolation inflicted on older adults by the pandemic over the last two years had a particular impact on the growth of the connection programs, Social Call and Well Connected/Well Connected Español. Well Connected, which started in 2004, and its companion, Well Connected Español, are largely participant-led, providing a space for people from the United States (and sometimes beyond) to support one another through phone- and online-based groups, classes, and events. Social Call was originally founded in 2009 as an in-person, friendly visiting program to connect older adults and volunteers for one-on-one weekly conversations in English or Spanish. In 2018, the program launched visits by phone or video, which expanded availability throughout the United States. Today, these virtual connection programs reach 3,900 individuals a year.
What sets these programs apart, says Tracy Powell, vice president of the Community Services division, is the importance of reciprocity — what participants give each other, and how they shape the programs.
“Back in the day, we designed programs somewhat paternalistically, as in ‘we’ll fix this for you.’ Now we focus on engaging participants to help create their own solutions.”
Amber Carroll, senior director of Connection Programs, emphasizes that Community Services programs “are not a resource for ‘them’ — people out there. We are collectively a resource for everyone — every resident, every staff person,” as well as the community at large.
“I believe we can be leaders of doing this work that demonstrates our social accountability,” Tracy said. “It’s something that residents, staff, family members, and board members can be proud of. I’m grateful for Front Porch’s commitment to dedicate time and financial resources to make an impact on people’s lives as well as social challenges. I think we embody the values of Front Porch and the work we do is another way to think about how to live out those values.”
For more information on Front Porch Community Services connection programs, call 877.797.7299 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.