Nevada Ensures Support Together
When COVID-19 struck in March 2020, Nevadans were asked to “stay home for Nevada.” While much was unknown, a group of aging services professionals were certain of one thing: we must protect Nevadans from the threat of social isolation. And so, the NEST Collaborative was born – a volunteer-driven effort aimed at reducing social isolation and loneliness among elders, veterans, and people living with disabilities. Throughout the height of the pandemic, The NEST Collaborative offered friendly, virtual, volunteer-hosted social support programs, including weekly one-to-one phone calls, Zoom-based social groups, and individualized technology assistance.
Over 350 Nevadans have been served by NEST Programs, totaling over 4,000 hours of volunteer service! Building on this success, NEST Programs have now been packaged for adoption by aging and social services organizations across the state of Nevada as a way to expand the services they offer to the people they serve.
NEST Programs aim to:
Provide informal social support to combat loneliness and social isolation
Provide a virtual opportunity for participants and volunteers to connect and develop reciprocal relationships
Provide telephone-based technology assistance
Connect Nevadans across the state to build a stronger statewide community
Help Nevadans access additional community resources
- Participants receive a friendly call up to twice a week from a NEST Calls volunteer.
- Participants and volunteers experience a reciprocal relationship built simply through chatting about their lives, hobbies, and current events.
- If desired, volunteers help connect participants to local resources through the network of aging and social services.
- Volunteers provide informal social support and are supported by organizational staff throughout the entirety of their service.
- Participants gather in a small group via Zoom to develop a network of mutual support.
- The groups are hosted by a NEST Groups volunteer, who helps facilitate while still maintaining an unstructured format.
- Groups meet once per week and consist of 6-8 participants.
- Participants are connected with trained volunteers to help address their technology needs.
- Participants receive a weekly phone call from their volunteer who works to build participants’ capacity in using technology.
- Volunteers assist with Zoom, email, social media, and anything else! The goal is to position the participant to more effectively use technology independently in the future.
Looking to adopt NEST Programs in your community/organization?
Four organizations in Nevada are currently offering NEST Programs. Reach out to one of them today to get involved:
Nevada Rural Counties RSVP (https://www.nevadaruralrsvp.org)
Senior Outreach Services (https://med.unr.edu/aging/outreach/sos)
Neighbor Network of Northern Nevada (https://neighbornv.org)
Nevada Department of Veterans Services (https://veterans.nv.gov)