Surrey residents aged 18 and older are sought for the next Surrey Shares cohort. (Contributed photo)

Surrey residents aged 18 and older are sought for the next Surrey Shares cohort. (Contributed photo)

Surrey storytelling program for seniors expands to include 18-and-older

Organizers wonder if ‘COVID fatigue’ impacting registration

An initiative that launched last year to connect and support people aged 55 and older who were isolated or lonely and help them achieve some personal goals is raring to go on its third round.

But despite changes that include opening the Surrey Shares program to those as young as 18, officials say they are scrambling to meet the minimum capacity required to get the ball rolling.

Facilitator and life coach Jessika Houston said last week (April 21) that only five people had signed on at that point to participate in the storytelling program – offered at no charge – that was scheduled to get underway on April 26; just half of the minimum required.

She can’t help but wonder if pandemic-related restrictions are making those who might otherwise be interested hesitate.

“I’m wondering if it might be a little bit of COVID fatigue, where people don’t really know what’s happening with all the changes, so they’re not wanting to sign up for something that’s for 12 weeks,” Houston said.

“In the other two cohorts, as soon as we started advertising we were pretty much full, and in this cohort… we’ve been advertising for about three weeks.

“And we thought it would actually be easier because we’ve opened it up to 18-plus.”

The program – with funding from the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program – is an initiative of the Surrey Intercultural Seniors Social Inclusion Partnership Network. Adapted to be held online, it includes working on goal-setting and personal growth with a certified life coach, and with a speaking coach on public-speaking skills and telling stories of personal interest.

Stories recorded by the first cohort were shared online in November.

READ MORE: Surrey seniors connect through storytelling on video

Past participants described benefits including gaining new skills, making new friends and discovering new interests.

Houston said additional changes incorporated into the upcoming 12-week program – now simply planned to start “soon” – include the ability to participate with an interpreter or support worker; changes that make the program more accessible to people for whom English is not their first language or who have diverse abilities.

As well, there are now loaner laptops available to those who don’t otherwise have the technology to participate; and, weekly group sessions will also be incorporated, to create opportunities for participants to meet and work together.

Houston said while some previous participants have expressed interest in getting involved again, the grant program mandates that 80 per cent of each cohort be new to the program. As well, off those, 65 per cent must be seniors, “because it’s a seniors-funded program.”

If interest in this cohort exceeds capacity, Houston said names will be added to a list for the next group, which is planned for September.

To get involved, email
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey RCMP is investigating after a serious three-vehicle crash at the intersection of King George Boulevard and 128th Street Thursday afternoon (May 6, 2021). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Police watchdog investigating serious collision in Surrey

Incident happend May 6 at King George Boulevard and 128th Street

Surrey Fire Service firefighters quickly contained a fire on 75A Avenue. (Shane MacKichan photos)
PHOTOS: Surrey firefighters extinguish second house fire in Newton

Second fire incident reported in Newton Sunday morning

Surrey RCMP are investigating two ‘suspicious’ fires in Newton Sunday morning. (Shane MacKichan photos)
Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of May 9

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Vancouver Giants celebrated a Justin Sourdif goal Saturday night in Kamloops. Giants dropped a 3-1 decision to Kamloops, a game that clinched the 2020-21 B.C. Division banner for the Blazers. (Allen Douglas/special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Vancouver Giants drop 3-1 decision to Kamloops

Third-period rally should have come sooner, said coach of Langley-based team

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country’s crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
IHIT investigating after man killed in Burnaby shooting

Police looking for more information on fatal shooting

After Bobby Henderson apologized online for his comments to a Toronto reporter, the Langley Rivermen announced that he was no longer team coach and general manager and in fact, had ‘parted ways’ with the franchise in March. (file/Twitter)
Former Langley Rivermen coach and GM apologizes for comments to Toronto reporter

Bobby Henderson blames stress due to the pandemic for his ‘disparaging’ remarks

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Most Read