What Does It Take to End Isolation

By Kate Salter, Intern, Women’s Fund

The Women’s Fund of Oshkosh welcomes all volunteers to support the Campaign to End Isolation. This campaign consists of three phases:

  • The first phase will raise awareness of the issue of isolation.
  • The second will create understanding; what does it mean to be isolated?
  • And the third will empower the community to take action to end isolation.

The first phase—awareness—is where we need your help. But first, here’s how the campaign originated.

In 2008, to celebrate its 10th anniversary, the Women’s Fund launched the Power of 10. We gave 10 groups of 10 individuals, $10,000 to make an impact in the lives of our mothers, daughters, sisters and friends. Our groups consisted of a wide range of demographics—from teenagers to the elderly and single moms to dads of daughters. We promised them we would LISTEN to the issues and everyday challenges they face, and that we would act on what we learned.

As we listened, we heard one common theme: They all felt some kind of isolated. Teenagers said they have 800 Facebook friends but no one to confide in. Elderly women told us that no one had come to visit in more than a month. Single moms explained that their couple‐friends would stop asking them over after a divorce. Everyone was feeling alone.

We suspected that isolation was much more than just a feeling, though, so we started doing some research. Here’s what we found:

  • Isolation is as dangerous to your health as smoking.
  • Loneliness takes a greater toll on your health than obesity or physical inactivity.
  • Social isolation changes the way the brain functions.
  • Being lonely increases the risk of dementia by 50 dementia.

With the stories from our groups and the statistics we found, the Campaign to End Isolation was born.

Rotaract Oshkosh | Womens Fund | Campaign to End IsolationThe first part of the campaign, building awareness, features our seven feet tall by three feet wide isolation booth. The booth is meant to grab the attention of passersby and create a diversion in the everyday routine while representing the feeling of someone being surrounded by people but unable to connect with them.

We’ve found that the most effective way to raise awareness with the isolation booth is to have someone either near it or inside of it. This is where we need your help! We’d love if you could sign up for a shift to:

  • Set up/tear down the booth
  • Stand inside the booth
  • Hand out information outside the booth
  • Maybe even write a blog post about your experience!

Join us and be the change in our community. If you have any questions, or would like to learn about how to sign up to volunteer, please email Kate Salter at [email protected]. Also, visit our website, endisolation.com to read stories and pledges made by real people in our community.

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