Just the beginning...
With a global pandemic halting many social interactions and connections, people, specifically the elderly, have had difficult times when it comes to mental health and loneliness. However, behind the scenes, young activists continue to improve the lives of people around them. They bring light during these bleak times.
Julia Ye, the founder of the HeartWise Project, took her passion for psychology and mental health awareness to create a program that brightens the day of seniors through one on one calls and sending videos. Already, Julia and her team have managed to partner with 20 different senior centers in multiple states (10, specifically), gain traction internationally with India and Canada, and grasp the interest of 80+ members! The ever-developing organization has great promise and potential. As the HeartWise Project continues to expand, there will be so many more opportunities to make a senior's day!
It is so important to learn and talk more about mental health in our community, especially that of the elderly. As of now, the HeartWise Project is comprised of two main programs that members participate in. These programs are a great method to connect with the elderly despite the virtual setting as well as attaining service hours for each call and video!
The LOVE Program
As someone who is very dedicated to music, Julia wanted to find some way to enable people to use their talents and passions to spread positivity. The LOVE Program, an acronym for Linking Opportunities for the Venerable Elderly, allows students to submit videos of creating art, cooking, dancing, singing, reading, etc. There is a lot of room for creativity with these videos! Participants can take what they love to do the most to spread positivity to others around them.
When these videos are submitted to HeartWise, they are then sent to the senior centers where the staff shows them to their residents! So far, the LOVE Program has received great feedback and provides a simple, fun way to make someone's day even slightly better.
Call Companion Program
Though we lack the ability to meet face to face, technology is on our side! Participants are partnered with a senior that may match some of their interests, giving them many topics to talk about with one another! A 30 minute video call brings a smile to both sides of the line and fill the empty void that has formed during quarantine due to minimal social interactions.
Of course, the Call Companion Program has a lot of flexibility and room for choice. Even though it is not in person, having these interactions, even if they are just for a small period of time, can make all the difference! Even once things slowly get back to normal and we start heading back to school and getting engaged in our usual activities, having a call companion will still be just as effective! It is a timeless program that will continue to bring smiles to everybody's faces!
It doesn't end here! The HeartWise project is looking forward to introducing new programs and concepts that will continue to educate and enlighten people about elder isolation and how we can help!
The HeartWise Project already has some New Years goals in mind to amplify the organization's influence. In 2021, Julia wants to launch an advocacy program which will further inform viewers on mental health and isolation, specifically regarding the elderly. Here, people will also be able to use their interests and passions to create content that will promote advocacy! Whether that's through writing articles or making informative videos, the advocacy program will continue to spread awareness about an issue so pertinent in today's world!
How you can support!
New members are always welcome to become a part of the HeartWise family! If you have a passion for spreading joy, then there will be an open spot for you on this team. Julia is very easy to reach! If you have an Instagram, follow @heartwiseproject, where there will be a link tree that will guide you to everything you need: the website (heartwiseproject.weebly.com), the LOVE participation form, and the Call Companion participation form!
Nowadays, there are countless ways to make someone smile! Many of these seniors are not able to have visitors, leaving the risk of loneliness and hopelessness. You can be the change that brings back the light!
Meet the Founder
Julia Ye is a high school junior from Maryland. When she is not working on HeartWise, she enjoys playing the cello and hanging out with her pet cat Moe. In the future, she hopes to pursue a career in clinical psychology!
Stay tuned for articles/interviews with more inspiring founders of youth led initiatives!