Beating Isolation and Staying Social

beat isolation get mini May 21, 2020

(Image courtesy of SoulPancake.com)

Quarantine has been both a blessing and a curse in many ways, but the best thing to come out of it for me is a website called Big & Mini. When I first heard about Big & Mini, I was immediately intrigued.

All through high school, I volunteered with the National Charity League for girls, and my favorite part was getting to visit the people that lived in the nursing homes. This year, as a freshman at the University of Texas at Austin, I found myself looking for the kind of life stories and wisdom that can only be found in the words of the people that have lived longer than me.

My name is Avery, and I found out about this website through my friend, Allen, the creator of the organization. He originally just sent me a link to the page and said “hey, Avery, what do you think of this?” I think he knew that I was his target audience because of course I loved the idea of a website that pairs an aging person with a young person and allows them to create a virtual friendship through video calls.

Big & Mini seemed like a great way to combat social isolation during quarantine. Once I was on board and told Allen that I loved it and I was signing up, he then revealed to me that he created it along with his brother, Anthony, and another friend of mine named Aditi. He told me about his mission and why he felt passionate about the project. I was blown away by his drive and the product that they had created.

After this, I became involved and was matched with someone named Carol (yes, this Carol.) I’m no going to lie, that first video chat day, I was incredibly nervous. It seemed challenging to meet someone for the first time online. But I was ready to take that leap of faith. Carol and my first call was perfect.

It genuinely couldn’t have gone better. We got along instantly, and it wasn’t awkward like I had anticipated at all. We had many of the same interests as I’m an English major who wants to be a writer and she is a writer. We talked about all kinds of things that were light-hearted and some deeper topics. We scheduled another meeting for the following week and since then I’ve gotten to know her I would say relatively well! 

Carol tells me the greatest stories and has taught me a variety of things. She gave me a new outlook on my family and appreciating the special moments that I get to share with the people around me. Our conversations have allowed me to see the world through a different perspective. I wouldn’t trade our friendship for anything. From here I hope that we will stay in contact for a long long time, and I can’t wait until the outside world is safe again so that I can meet her in person and give her a big hug!

by Avery, Carol's Mini

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