social connections with those around them, check in on neighbors who may be struggling, and stay in tune with their own emotions through acts of self-care and reflection. Formatted like the traditional bingo game, the “Start the Conversation” bingo featured social or mindfulness activities on each square. The activity was mailed to more than 7,000 households and post office boxes in the WTT project area. When a recipient received the mailer with the game, they were prompted to complete the activities and then report their “bingo” row of activities. An online survey and phone number were available to submit this information.
What Community Members Said About “Start the Conversation” Bingo “It was nice to see someone smile because of something I said to them.”
Those who responded to the survey or left a message by phone were sent a special package acknowledging the completion of their “Start the Conversation” bingo activity. This proved to be a great incentive for community members. We received many positive responses and inspired many people to reach out to others during what was a tough time for everyone. What began as a compromise to inspire people directly in their homes rather than in person became a success and opened the door for a new format of programming! “I am joyful most of the time, but I have a dear friend who lifts my spirits whenever I text or talk to her. We have reconnected throughout COVID and have mostly a texting relationship. I decided to mix it up one night and FaceTimed her instead. She laughed about college days and weird things our kids do and we even had a virtual beer together. We promised to FaceTime more often into our crazy, messy lives because if we weren’t 700 miles apart we would be getting together in person more often!” “I had pre-ordered a new book from my favorite author and when it arrived, I sat in my sunroom with my coffee and my new book and just read for a couple of hours with no interruptions!” “Helping my team during the stressful time of the end of quarter sales quotas with some humor helps the heavy weight of the job get a little lighter.” “Especially with COVID, it has been hard to keep in touch with family. My mother died last fall, and every time I walked by this bingo sheet, I called one of my sisters. Great reminder.” “It was refreshing and much needed to de-stress by getting some fresh air and physical activity!”
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