StudentsCare has teamed up with CompanionForSeniors to offer our signature Senior Buddy Program internationally for the first time ever. 

The CompanionForSeniors– Buddy Program is an initiative run by OurParents, a company based in India. OurParents was founded by Prajosh Balakrishnan to meet the growing needs of seniors in his community. 

The Buddy Program is an innovative model that offers university students the opportunity to interact with seniors in their community, who frequently feel isolated and alone. Modeled after the StudentsCare Senior Buddy Program, student volunteers (called Buddies) meet weekly via phone or video with senior citizens to connect over their shared interests and backgrounds and to learn more about one another. Pairs might play games, read stories, share recipes, or talk about their days. The Buddies offer emotional support and understanding while also learning from this experience. Not only will the students learn from the intergenerational exchange, but they will also gain new knowledge, improve interaction skills, and most importantly, develop empathy. They will also have an opportunity to connect globally with volunteers from StudentsCare chapters across the United States.

As part of this collaboration, StudentsCare will provide guidelines and material to aid in the selection and training of student volunteers. They will monitor the program and have periodic reviews to ensure the success of the rollout. 

Prajosh Balakrishnan, on his path to collaborating with StudentsCare, “There are many forums which talk about the growing imbalance in population demographics in India. In one such discussion with Dr Savitha Nair, Dean of GRG college of Management studies, she made a casual mention of StudentsCare and how they made a difference in the lives of children and seniors.  Being inquisitive I filled out the enquiry form available on their website. I was more than surprised when I received a reply from Erica Sokol Carroll, their founder. She and the Program Manager Tami Robinson patiently explained the model. Their program was so impressive that we approached them for mentoring the rollout in India.” 

“Today with their support and motivation we are rolling out the buddy program with 50 student volunteers participating from the GRG college,” continues Prajosh. “The pilot phase will run until November 2022, after which the program will be rolled out across the south of India, involving volunteers from other colleges.”

We at StudentsCare are extremely excited about this partnership. It is a privilege  to build networks that align with our mission and expand our buddy program internationally.“Our team has thoroughly enjoyed the process of helping CompanionForSeniors grow from an idea to a full fledged program that will greatly benefit older adults within another culture and community. Empathy is a global language that can and should be fostered, especially while encouraging intergenerational connections.” Tami Robinson adds, “I am so grateful to have played a small role in bringing our services to our friends in India and look forward to witnessing the good they will do for the communities they serve!”

“We are thrilled for this opportunity to take our senior buddy program global. We are confident Prajosh and his team will be able to see the initiative through and we will be guiding them along the way.” StudentsCare founder and CEO, Erica Sokol Carroll. “ We hope others around the world will see our impact and work with us to bring our life-changing buddy programs to their communities.”

To learn more about StudentsCare and how you can get involved with CompanionForSeniors, reach out to INFO@STUDENTS-CARE.ORG or visit companionforseniors.com.