JFS Perspectives

Monday, July 09, 2018

Circle Talk: Enter as Strangers and Leave as Friends

Circle Talk: Enter as Strangers and Leave as Friends

If someone gave you a million dollars to spend on yourself, how would you spend it? If you could give it away to make the world a better place, to whom would you give it? These are the types of questions that older adults explore together in Circle Talk. This program creates a safe space for older adults to have meaningful conversations about the things that matter most to them. Circle Talk draws connections between group members’ life experiences, giving them the chance to speak to the real moments that shape their lives and sense of self.

Boulder JFS received a Community Resiliency grant from Foothills United Way to bring Circle Talk to communities and individuals that cannot afford to pay for this type programming. Boulder JFS is wrapping up its first 12-week Circle Talk curriculum at Presbyterian Manor, a nonprofit, low-income retirement community in the heart of Boulder. Beyond creating a safe space for people to connect, Boulder JFS is working to create a sustainable program by training group participants as a peer leaders who will continue to guide and grow the program, with the support of Boulder JFS staff. Additionally, in late summer, Boulder JFS will partner with the City of Broomfield to expand the program there.

Circle Talk selfieThe Circle Talk motto, “Enter as strangers and leave as friends,” has come to life in the group at Presbyterian Manor. One afternoon, a woman in the group fell in her apartment and cut her arm on the way to the group meeting. When she came to the group, the facilitators helped bandage the wound. Another woman in the group, who recently had a stroke, revealed that she was an MD and midwife. She rebandaged the arm and continued to check on the wound daily. The interaction led to more than a healing arm. Having already established a connection through Circle Talk, the women have continued to connect outside of the group and a new friendship has blossomed.

For more information on Circle Talk, please contact Jodi Ansell, MSW, at 720.749.3402.