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When COVID-19 sent the world into isolation, a group of high school students from Calgary, Canada, developed a service to help brighten the lives of lonely seniors.

The Joy4All Project is a youth-led project that allows people to call a hotline (1-877-JOY-4ALL) to hear pre-recorded messages of positivity. Callers have the choice of listening to stories, jokes, poetry, and other kind messages from the voices of children and young people. Project coordinator Katie Mahon told CNN in April that the hotline received more than 1,800 calls before it had finished its first week.

“Our goal is to keep everyone engaged and happy during these tough times, especially the people who are helping the cause by self-isolating,” reads the organization’s website. “We thank them for making this sacrifice for us, and want to help them get through this time by giving them happiness and a sense of belonging.”

The Joy4All Project crowd-sources its messages and encourages creativity and supportive language in its submissions.  The project also manages Twitter and Instagram accounts that post positive messages, jokes and content from other Calgary social programs.

LifeCare Alliance understands how isolated some members of our community can be. Even before the pandemic, senior isolation has been a public health issue. For many LifeCare Alliance clients, the Meals-on-Wheels driver may be the only face-to-face interaction they have with a person on a typical day. Volunteers are essential for combatting senior isolation because the smile and kind words they provide are valued and appreciated.

July 11, 2020, is National Cheer Up the Lonely Day. For anyone in need, the Joy4All Project may offer a spark of happiness.