Fall 2021 Newsletter

We build human connections.

Since Shanti’s inception, building personal connection has been at the heart of what we do. Clifford, a volunteer with Shanti's COVID-19 Emergency Response Volunteer Program (CERV), has found his community-building, connection, and providing peer support as a way to ease his own feelings of isolation during the pandemic. We conducted this interview with Clifford while CERV was still operational.

Q&A with Clifford:
Shanti Volunteer. Community-Builder.

  • Where are you from and when did you come to the Bay Area? 
My name is Clifford. I was born in China and came to the Bay Area several years ago for education. I plan to apply to medical schools, and I am studying for MCAT now. I enjoy reading a lot, especially mystery and detective stories. I swam frequently before the pandemic, and I got into biking and yoga this past year. 
  • How did you learn of CERV/Shanti and why do you volunteer?
I already translated some Shanti documents through my college interpretation club. I learned about CERV through the Mon Ami platform. I was a Mon Ami senior companion and joined CERV when the pandemic started. I decided to become a volunteer because I continued to work and volunteer during the pandemic, so I had a first-hand impression of how the pandemic negatively impacted people’s lives. I would like to do something to give back to the community, and CERV is the perfect opportunity.
  • What did you do as CERV Volunteer?
I had two clients as a CERV volunteer. For the first client, we talked over the phone several times to ease his feeling of isolation during the initial period of lockdown. For the other client, I call him every Wednesday to ask how he is doing and if he has any needs, and I make one grocery errand run and delivery it to his doorstep every Friday. I am still supporting him right now.
  • How does being a CERV Volunteer impact your life?
Being a CERV volunteer allows me to give back to the community, and it shows me how the community could come together in times of difficulty to help each other out, which is just incredible. CERV connects me with people, which helps me ease a lot of my own feelings of isolation during the pandemic. 
Read the full Q&A

A HUGE thank you to our CERV volunteers!

CERV volunteers shopping for groceries and other essential items
In March 2020, Shanti launched our COVID-19 Emergency Response Volunteer Program (CERV) to provide emergency support to our neighbors across the city most affected by the pandemic. With COVID-related restrictions easing in San Francisco, Shanti's CERV program has sunsetted. 

CERV volunteers provided both one-time and ongoing, weekly support to older adults and adults living with illnesses or disabilities who were advised to limit their outdoor exposure. Support included grocery shopping and delivery; medication delivery; essential tasks; dog walking; and mail pickup. Shanti CERV volunteers also provided support to San Franciscans diagnosed with or exposed to COVID who needed emergency assistance to maintain quarantine. For each of these households, a CERV volunteer provided a grocery run (shopping and contactless delivery) to ensure they had food and necessities. In total, CERV volunteers supported 2,225 individuals.

Shanti expresses our heartfelt gratitude to all 600 CERV volunteers!

SHARE: creating community through self-expression

Through a partnership with Mount Zion Health Fund and UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine’s staff and clinicians, Shanti launched a creative online space for its clients in three of Shanti’s programs, HIV Services, the LGBTQ+ Aging & Abilities Support Network (LAASN), and the Margot Murphy Women’s Cancer Program. The partners, via the project Sharing Humanity through Arts, Reflection, and Expression (SHARE) have facilitated the online space which started in September 2021.

SHARE’s goal is to develop an online program that fosters self-discovery of inner resources to promote social inclusion and strengthen individual and community well-being.

Read More

Virtual events bring connection to Shanti's community

Shanti clients river rafting on the south fork of the American River

Shanti offers clients an opportunity to enjoy some of the Bay Area’s cultural events and recreational activities with a supportive group of peers. Complementary event tickets are offered for live theater, concerts, sports, outdoor activities, opera, ballet, and more. Participating in community events can combat loneliness, isolation, and brings a sense of connection and belonging.

COVID-19 hit Shanti's Activities Desk hard because, "our whole purpose was to keep people connected to community,” said David Smee, Client Activities Coordinator. While in-person gatherings and events were on hiatus, Shanti ensured clients had access to virtual events around the globe. Clients were treated to streaming DJ sets from Berlin, virtual tours of international museums, film festivals, performances by The Tokyo Ballet, The Metropolitan Opera, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Hermann’s Jazz Club in New York City, and much more. Offering virtual events brought diverse programming, and gave clients a fresh perspective they wouldn’t otherwise have.

Read More
About Shanti

Shanti is a pioneering nonprofit that builds personal connections to reduce isolation and improve quality of life.

We believe that meaningful relationships are essential for navigating life’s most difficult challenges. Every day, we ease the invisible suffering that can accompany isolation or illness, and combat it through the power of personal connection. Because when we take care of each other, we make San Francisco a healthier and more compassionate community, for everyone.
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