Savoir faire — Pilot project trains volunteers to help isolated seniors research their family history

A one-year pilot project, called Family Roots, in Haliburton County, northeast of Toronto, is training senior (60+) volunteers to research their family history and then matching them with other seniors, who may be isolated, vulnerable, or have mild cognitive issues, to research their own ancestry.

Non-profit organization SIRCH (Supportive Initiative for Residents in the County of Haliburton) Community Services, launched the program in April.

The training portion of the program requires one day a week for six to eight weeks. The trainees then work with their matches about half a day a week for ten weeks.

In the recruitment information, SIRCH says, “The program will provide a fun and social environment, with refreshments, weekly meetings, quarterly ‘reveals’ and much more. There is a time commitment, but it’s a project that will make your heart sing if you like to connect, give back, and are intrigued by the past.”

The first group of five volunteers were trained by project coordinator and local genealogist Donna Gagnon, who taught them how to research their own family history, going back three generations.

A three-minute video on YouTube explains how the Family Roots program is structured.

At the ceremony to mark the end of training, the volunteers were presented with a file that contained information about their matches.

SIRCH is now recruiting five to ten volunteers for the training session scheduled to begin in September.

The Family Roots program received a $25,000 grant from the federal government’s New Horizons for Seniors Program. It is also supported by the Haliburton Highlands Museum and Haliburton Highlands CARP Chapter 54.

SIRCH Family Roots is on Facebook.

Savoir faire is an occasional feature about genealogists and genealogical societies that are doing good things. To read about other creative and inspirational ideas, click on the ‘Savoir faire’ category in the right margin.

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One Response to Savoir faire — Pilot project trains volunteers to help isolated seniors research their family history

  1. Linda Cormier Tourigny says:

    What a wonderful idea!!

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