Purpose Pals provides special opportunities for volunteers to interact virtually with kupuna. 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 matches adults (50 and over) with youth (in high-school/college) based on their interests and fosters regular communication using a web-based video conferencing platform. Online activities 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.”
Depending on your availability and interests, it may take some time to confirm a match. Purpose Pals coordinators will direct your progress, including finding you a match, assisting with meeting scheduling (if needed), and providing instructions for a legacy gift, if applicable. Apply early; if Purpose Pals is not able to find you a match, you should be prepared to choose another project before the S-L registration deadline.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) to explore the possibilities.
- I have to do 10 hours of service-learning this semester. Can I do that with Purpose Pals?
○ Yes! However, depending on demand (number of students interested in Purpose Pals) & scheduling options, the matching process with an older Pal may be delayed. Apply ASAP to see if there’s a match for you. If you haven’t been matched, and the deadine for forms is approaching, we recommend contacting Purpose Pals for an update on your potential matches.
- 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, virtual conversations with your 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 45min.
- How long does it take to complete the training?
○ Pals review materials and take a quick quiz. The process takes 20-30 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?
○ Hours are tracked on the Purpose Pals platform. The Purpose Pals coordinator can verify hours 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 www.purposepals.org. Coordinators will then begin seeking an older Pal for you. You will eventually receive an email confirming your ‘match’ with a Pal.
For all service-learning projects, you must register through Chaminade’s Service-Learning Office. Read the instructions and complete the process here:
After filling out 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 with your ‘match’ with an older Pal. Forward this email to email@example.com along with a photo of your completed Connection Agreement.