A group of Buddhist friends including Daniel Troyak from Buddhist Counselling and Ada Lee from Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Association have joined together to address loneliness and social isolation in our community. This is by no means an easy feat, but this enthusiastic and committed group believe they can make changes through cooperation and empowerment.
Social Buddy volunteers make friendship phone calls and video calls to people that need someone. A group of volunteers have been trained in deep listening and social skills to strengthen their connection with individuals. Through nurturing meaningful conversations on the phone and video chat the volunteers improve a person’s quality of life as well as social skills, confidence, self-esteem and positive emotions.
Daniel says, ‘This initiative comes from our shared belief in the limitless potential of all beings for wisdom and compassion. We are motivated by the values of non-violence, compassion, kind-heartedness and mindfulness.’ While Social Buddy’s operations are rooted in core values consistent with Buddhist ethical teachings, it is open to everyone. They strive and advocate for inclusivity and diversity.
Social Buddy is culturally appropriate, multilingual and welcomes people of all ethnicities, lifestyle choices, faiths, sexual orientations and gender identities. Their volunteers speak many languages other than English including Cantonese and Mandarin, Vietnamese, Japanese and Spanish. Ada said ‘We have been amazed at the requests for connection that have come in from all corners of the community. New migrants might not have a regular Buddhist group, and one can’t survive on YouTube teachings alone! We can provide connection while they get settled. We have also had referrals from refugee and corrective services groups.’
The Buddhist Council of NSW is proud to sponsor Buddhist Counselling’s launch function for Social Buddy in October. You can refer a client or make a donation by visiting the Social Buddy website.
This article was first published on the Buddhist Council of NSW’s blog