SAN DIEGO — The need for human contact right now is taking its toll on many people.
That’s why the City of San Diego expanded its Social Calls program for everyone where a city employee calls to chat and offer city resources.
Each week Virginia Reyes, a mother of two, in Bonita received a call from the City of San Diego.
“Hi Virginia, this is Leslie McNabb with the City of San Diego Social Calls program, how are you? I'm doing well thanks.”
Reyes is one of a growing list of 50 participants who receive a free call from the City of San Diego checking in and sharing city resources.
“Having a voice to talk to is always nice,” said Reyes.
It was her children's' San Diego Recreation Center who connected the mother.
“They picked up my information and called me and I really took advantage of it because I use all their resources. I really love it,” said Reyes.
The city said resources such as summer camps and now education and tutoring have requested. The city shared information on Khan Academy with Reyes.
“It gives them something to do throughout the day. The day gets long especially during COVID-19,” said Reyes on the call.
McNabb asked Virginia about any other resources as the school year is about to start.
“I want to know where my children can volunteer. I have a 5[-year-old], she just turned 6 and I have a 10-year-old. [I want] something for them to do to volunteer and feel good about themselves,” said Reyes.
In May, the city expanded the Social Call program from seniors to all adults ages 18 and older. You can opt-in for one to three calls a week Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. or 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The city has three callers, two are Spanish speakers. Their focus started in the South Bay, where the city said there are high COVID-19 numbers and more resources are needed.
“With COVID-19 we realized people were stuck in their homes. People needed a way to communicate. They needed more information about city services,” said Leslie McNabb, City of San Diego Internship and Work Readiness Program Coordinator.
Callers have also been taking questions about how to get involved in racial justice programs.
“Also with the Black Lives Matter movement there were a lot of questions on how to get engaged with the community,” said McNabb.
What starts as a little “hello” has built new friendships that are creating an engaged and empowered community.
If you would like to chat or you know someone who needs the company and resources, fill out a form here. You can also call (619) 236-6905. If you need assistance you can check with your nearest recreation center or library.