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1:1 Volunteer Program – Interview

Below is an interview regarding the 1 for 1 program. I chatted with Susanne Channey, who I connected with during the heatwave when she asked for additional assistance while her assigned Volunteer was out of town.

— Chance Cutrano

Hi Suzanne thank you so much for agreeing to an interview about your experience with the town’s 1 for 1 Volunteer Program. I have a few questions for you.

The pandemic has caused everyone to make some adjustments over the last half-year. When you first heard about things closing down and the “Shelter in Place,” what were your biggest concerns? Did you have to make some big changes in your day-to-day life?

My biggest problem is isolation and loneliness.

You have used the Town’s 1-to-1 Volunteer Match program, which was developed to assist residents during the pandemic How did you hear about that program?

I heard about the program via doorknob notice.

Once you submitted a request for assistance and the staff connected you with someone who had volunteered to help, was it easy for you to work with your Volunteer? How do you communicate when you need assistance?

My volunteer, Talia, is great. We text.

What sort of tasks or errands has your Volunteer helped you with?

My husband does most of the grocery shopping. Talia is able to get me girl products like shampoo, nail care, etc. She picks up prescriptions at cvs.

Are you still in touch with your Volunteer? Has it been a good opportunity to get to know someone else in our community?

She and I have a good rapport. We have lots of things in common like both of us having lived abroad in Amsterdam and both knowing that city well. I have spent a few months there in past ten years as a good friend from here has permanently moved there in 2001.

When we first met, your assigned volunteer was out of town during the heatwave, and I responded to your request for a fan. Clearly there are a variety of ways we can show up and support our fellow community members. How do you see the Town’s 1-to-1 Volunteer Match program expanding or changing as time goes on?

Not being able to drive makes me totally dependent on my wonderful husband, but he doesn’t always want to take me where I’d like to go so. I guess I’d like more diverse programs. More trips to see special art exhibits. I’d be willing to pay for like seeing Hamilton, trips to Marin Shakespeare festival, or day trips to various parks, or even wine country, etc.

Are there any lessons that we can learn from the way we responded to this pandemic that we can take forward as we prepare for other emergencies?

I think the town needs to identify hard of hearing seniors. As I am. If my husband is not home, I don’t know if I would hear that hi-lo siren, especially with my noisy air purifier and swamp cooler and fans.

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