Purpose Pals provides special opportunities for volunteers to interact with kupuna in-person, phone, or virtually. As many older adults’ usual activities have been constrained due to the pandemic, you can help fill the void. At the same time, kupuna provide insight into careers and other “life lessons.”
Purpose Pals tasks students to identify and reach out to a kupuna in need in their community. Purpose Pals provides support in understanding aging issues, tips for communicating with the older Pal, and themed conversation starters help ensure Pals have enriching conversations. Volunteers may also have the opportunity to create a legacy gift that pays tribute to their older Pal’s wisdom and life stories. If you are asked to create a legacy gift, the time you devote to this task will also be counted as “service.”
Purpose Pals coordinators will provide orientation materials, direct your progress including providing support in finding a match and identifying a rationale for the older Pal that you select, assisting with connecting to an older Pal (if needed), and providing instructions for a legacy gift, if applicable.
This article explains how bridging the age gap and creating connections in your community is important now more than ever, as the pandemic has exacerbated the problem of social isolation for so many kupuna and young people alike.
Faculty, please note: If you’re considering using Purpose Pals as a project for all your students, we can tailor the experience to include group work, reflection, and the creation of a ‘legacy’ deliverable. Please contact the Service-Learning Office ([email protected]) to explore the possibilities.
I have to do 10 hours of service-learning this semester. Can I do that with Purpose Pals?
Yes! This service project is largely independent, tasking the student to identify a kupuna in need of support and reach out to him/her. Purpose Pals will provide orientation materials and guidelines for this process to ensure that the relationship is meaningful for both older and younger pal. Students will be encouraged to identify an older adult outside of their immediate family and Purpose Pals can provide a list of community organizations that support kupuna and can help to make connections, if needed.
Is there a minimum commitment required by Purpose Pals?
There is no minimum number of hours to commit.
My availability changes each week, but I’m most likely to be available during evenings and weekends. Would it be possible to participate in this program, given the uncertainty of my schedule and my limited availability?
Yes, in-person, phone, or virtual contact with your older pal will take place on days/times convenient to you and your pal.
How long are the sessions with my Pal?
Our goal is for you to have meaningful conversations with your pal. The length of each conversation is up to you! In the past, conversations average 30-45min.
How long does it take to complete the training?
Pals review orientation materials and complete an onboarding form. The process takes 30 minutes.
If my activity is tracked on the platform, is this a verification of the hours I’ve done? How do I get my evaluation form completed?
The Purpose Pals coordinator can verify hours based on reviewing the quality of Purpose Pals’ reflection exercises and your final legacy gift and complete your evaluation form; she will send these to the Chaminade Service-Learning Director. Be sure to ask Purpose Pals in advance for the completion of these documents.
How to Get Started
- Sign up at purposepals.org. Coordinators will then connect with you to share the orientation materials for this Purpose Pals project and ask you to complete a onboarding form in which you identify your older pal and rationale for selecting this individual.
- For all service-learning projects, you must register through Chaminade’s Service-Learning Office. Read the instructions and complete the process here.
- After completing the online form, print the Community Connection Agreement. Use the following info to complete each field on that Agreement and submit it.
Your Project/Agency is Purpose Pals.
Check the boxes for training, supervision, and evaluation.
Your site supervisor is Dr. Christy Nishita.
You do NOT need her signature. Instead, write “see email confirmation.” As mentioned above, you’ll receive an email from the coordinator, confirming that you completed the onboarding form. Forward this email to [email protected] along with a photo of your completed Connection Agreement.