69Cares proposal

69Cares 

(A Proposal for a Class Initiative to Support Classmates and Families)

Mission: provide support to classmates and families at times of loss or crisis. 

Goals

  • Class awareness and engagement that results in noticing needs and then acting to support each other.
  • Send a hand written note to every classmate or their family identified as needing support. 
  • Facilitate a personal contact by a connected classmate
  • Provide additional actions or support when appropriate

Target: 

  • Classmates in crisis with illness, loss, or threatened loss.
  • Families of departed classmates.
  • (Does not include financial issues or support.)

Three options or stages: 

Based on discussions with other classes doing this, possible approaches lie along a spectrum of increasing impact and commitment.  We should start mall and grow carefully.

  • Start small: Send a handwritten note on a Class-themed card to classmates/family in crisis or suffering loss. This 'entry-level' initiative requires a coordinator with a small team (3-5), designing and purchasing a card, and the cost of postage.
  • Mid-level enhancement: After the initial card-sending process is stable, begin to follow the handwritten note with a personal contact by phone or email, whenever possible by a classmate who has a known pre-existing connection. The call would ber to offer sympathy and support, and to find out to what degree the classmate or family would like the Class to be aware. This 'mid-level' initiative requires a coordinator with a larger team (probably 10 or more), plus a database of potential connections. It also requires awareness and referrals on the part of the class.
  • Intensive approach: Start with the card and follow-up call, and use the personal contact to coordinate or arrange further actions when possible and appropriate, ranging from simple and short-term actions (cards, flowers, donations) to more complex or long term involvement (visits, fundraising, putting them in touch with resources). This 'intensive' initiative requires a fairly large volunteer group with a wide range of skills and interests to serve as a support network and a database of resources.

If we get enough interest and volunteers from the Class, we would start with the small option of sending cards, and expand our effort only if there is enough active commitment and participation in the Class to support it. (Other classes report that building a large program takes at least five years.) 

The tentative suggested process: 

  • The executive committee decides to proceed. (Done)
  • We create class awareness of the process with an email to the class, articles in the ‘69Times and DAM, and info on the web site. 
  • The Executive Committee identifies a coordinator and 3-5 classmates for a 69Cares Committee.
  • The Class designs a sympathy card.
  • This 69Cares Committee rotates sending a handwritten personalized note to each classmate or family identified as needing support.
  • After a year, if this has gone well and there is interest, enlarge the program as follows:
    • The class develops and maintains a ‘connections database' of potential classmate connections.
    • The 69Cares team uses connections database to identify and recruit someone to make a personal contact with the classmate and/or family. Personal connection and flexibility are essential.
    • The contact person contacts the classmate and/or family, expresses sympathy and support, and asks about preferences (no contact, limited contact, class wide info) and needs
    • The class agrees to cover the cost of a gift of up to $100.
    • This is all done confidentially, but there is an annual report to the class of activity.
    • If this works well and we are able to recruit classmates willing to be part of an extended support network, develop a database of volunteers for the contact person to use to offer/coordinate more robust or ongoing support. 

Respectfully submitted by Peter Elias ‘69