Calgary high school students launch positive message hotline for seniors

A group of Calgary high schoolers has launched a free hotline for seniors in self-isolation.

People in isolation can call the number to hear a funny joke or happy note

The Joy4All Project is a student initiative in Calgary for seniors. (Shutterstock)

A group of Calgary high schoolers has launched a free positive message hotline for seniors in self-isolation.

The Joy4All project offers a free telephone line, and a friendly voice on the other end, to help lift spirits in what may be a lonely time during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hotline, available by calling 1-877-JOY-4ALL, offers pre-recorded jokes, stories, motivational passages and poems. It launched Friday.

The project is run by students in the recreational leadership program by Ever Active Schools, an off-site course for Calgary Board of Education students.

"A lot of folks who are in isolation are really missing their families right now," teacher Jamie Anderson said.

"So we're just trying to fill in some of the gaps and bring them a little bit of joy and levity during these difficult times."

Learn respect, wisdom from elders: student

Grade 12 student Jared Quinn said he feels it's important that youth support everyone in the community.

"Lots of people butt heads all the time, especially generational things, but that doesn't mean there can't be that respect and that you can't show love to people who may not be in your own generation," Quinn said. "I think we can learn a lot of respect for each other and a lot of wisdom from our elders in the community."

The hotline is currently a work in progress, with the students hoping to offer more content, as well as other languages.

Senior citizens in Calgary have been particularly hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. As of Friday, 17 people had died at a single nursing home in the city's southeast.

With files from Hala Ghonaim