Campaign to End Isolation–Four Things You May Have Missed

As we near the next stages of our Campaign to End Isolation, we’ve had time to look back on some of the most significant moments of the social movement. On June 12, 2013, we kicked off our campaign not knowing exactly how the community would react. Most people expect us to only make grants and fund things such as domestic abuse programs, women in poverty, or youth issues. That is what we do 95 percent of the time. This year, we’ve spent that other 5 percent raising awareness of isolation and what it does to someone’s mind, body and soul.

The conversation of isolation is certainly not a happy one, as we’ve experienced for the last six months, but it is a necessary one. Our posts to Facebook or tweets on Twitter can sometimes be sad or even chilling. Perhaps it’s time, as we move towards the next two phases of the campaign—understanding and action, that we look back on the positive outcomes of the last six months. There’s been an abundance of great moments, but below is a short highlight reel.

The First Day

June 12, the isolation booth stood alone at the Starbucks on Murdock and drew all sorts of attention. Two of the day’s best moments came from a young girl and a couple of women.  The girl walked up to the booth, looked at the isolated person inside, and held up a piece of paper that said “You Rock!” The two women did something quite similar but even more profound. As they read the information on the booth from afar, they inched closer. Then, as they approached, the women began to hold up their hands, eventually stopping with their hands touching the booth. They stood there, watching the person inside, as they mouthed the words “you’re not alone.”

Merrill Middle School

On a Wednesday in August, the Women’s Fund set up the isolation booth at Merrill Middle School for their registration day. From 8:00am until 1:00pm, we talked to parents, children, faculty and staff about the Campaign to End Isolation. They heard our message loud and clear. By the first hour, we had about 30 pledges to end isolation. When 1:00 rolled around, the booth was completely covered in over 120 pledges. Kids and parents alike were vowing to “stop bullying” and “have lunch with the new kid.” That day we saw the power of our youth shatter the glass of isolation.

The reactions

Seeing the booth for the first time can definitely be surprising. People’s reactions have ranged from completely avoiding the booth to walking up and sharing their personal isolation story. Caretakers, mothers, fathers, widowers, and kids of all demographics have stopped to share their experiences. We’ve had people stand up during organization presentations and share stories about how they’ve been recently isolated. Best of all, we’ve had a surge of volunteers who have all said that this campaign has changed the way they look at loneliness and the way they cope with it themselves.

The News

NBC26 and WBAY News at Noon have both been gracious hosts to the Women’s Fund Campaign to End Isolation. Just by being interviewed on these news stations, we’ve reached over 15,000 people on Facebook alone. That’s not mentioning the other thousands of people through television media.

As we continue down the road to end isolation, we expect to keep seeing such positive results come from the campaign. Great community organizations have come forth to show their support of our efforts, and we plan to carry on this amazing momentum into the next phase. Join us in ending isolation by doing these three things right now:

  1. Visit endisolation.com to learn more about the campaign and to make your own pledge to end isolation.
  2. Text CHANGE to 80077
  3. Contact us at wfintern@oshkoshareacf.org for volunteer opportunities

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