John Abbott College Students Breaking Seniors’ Isolation


Professor Barry Reynolds at CEGEP John Abbott College

John Abbott College’s growing “Volunteering: Community & Communication” classes, taught by Professor Barry Reynolds, are continuing to make a big impact in the West Island. This semester, many students are working with seniors in an effort to break the isolation they often experience.

Richard Schumacher, a student at John Abbott College volunteers with Volunteer West Island’s seniors’ Contact Program. He contacts a group of seniors living in the West Island once a week to check in and chat with them about “whatever they feel like talking about, really. This experience has been more than I could have imagined it to be”.  After about ten weeks of regularly calling these seniors, he has gotten to know them quite well, without ever meeting them face-to-face.


Contact Program

“One of the ladies I call is someone who has traveled the world. She always tells me about the adventures she’s had over her lifetime. She’s really sparked an interest in me to get up and travel myself”.  Although the semester is rapidly wrapping up, Richard is very interested in continuing his volunteer efforts with seniors.


The Young at Heart 55+ Club

Another initiative that John Abbott College students are taking part in to break the isolation of seniors is a weekly Bingo program for West Island seniors. Four students volunteer once a week to put on this successful event. “It’s been really great to interact with the seniors and have conversations with them, much like if we were good friends”, said JAC volunteer Hudson Harris-Bytautas. This program put on by these volunteers in collaboration with Volunteer West Island welcomes all seniors!

Guest Blogger Daniel Gabrielli, Communications and Social Media Volunteer

December 2015

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