Jody Jesso is starting to get the word out about the Elders’ Outreach Project. (Sarah MacMillan/CBC) The Native Council of P.E.I. (NCPEI) is making an extra effort this year to ensure that elders stay connected with their community, with a new Elders’ Outreach Project.
"Sometimes I think people forget about our elders sitting at home all alone," said project coordinator Jody Jesso.
Jesso said part of the motivation for the project is to prevent social isolation. She plans to contact all NCPEI members age 55 and up, to ask if they are interested in being included in the program. Medicine wheel approach
As part of the program Jesso will check in with each elder on a weekly basis, and will also plan group activities once a month.
When meeting with the elders, she will focus on checking in on their mental, physical, spiritual and emotional well-being — each of which are components of the medicine wheel, which is a spiritual symbol in Indigenous cultures. Jesso’s outreach will follow what she calls a ‘medicine wheel approach.’ (Sarah MacMillan/CBC) When it comes to spiritual wellbeing, Jesso said that would include helping elders to stay connected with their culture.
"To see if they’re smudging regularly, if they are following some sacred traditions like attending powwows, attending cultural activities in their community," said Jesso. Passing on traditions
As part of the program, the participants will be invited to monthly activity sessions. At some of those session, they will have the opportunity to share stories and skills, such as traditional recipes, with young people.
"It’s a benefit for both. A benefit for the elders to share, and a benefit for our youth and future generations to learn and share," said Jesso.
Jesso is currently working on advertising the program, and sorting out the list of who to contact. Anyone intested in participating can contact Jesso at 902-892-5314, or at firstname.lastname@example.org .
She hopes to start checking in with elders next week.
The program will run until March of next year.
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