Hey, You Got Mail! : Share A Story, Inspire Another
Hey, You Got Mail: Story For A Story (HYGM:SFAS) is a side project of Hey, You Got Mail (HYGM) that aims to collect stories from the general public about their experiences with the elderly, and share it with others so it can inspire them to take the first step in interacting with the seniors. We all would have interacted with a senior at some point in our lives that left a lasting memory and it is our purpose to share these experiences, from heartwarming ones to tear jerking moments that would be enough to make a grown man cry.
We also aspire for it to serve as a guide whereby people can read up on the ways to kindle a relationship with the elderly, such as a common interest or even as simple as sharing a meal together. That was where the inspiration for the name for this project came from, contribute your story and in return, you can read up the stories from others.
The inspiration for this project came about as we wanted to be more than a card making initiative, to provide more avenues for individuals to be personally involved in ameliorating social isolation among the elderly. We hope that these stories would encourage them to step out and start the ball rolling in engaging with the elderly in their local community.
We also realised that the younger generation may have trouble interacting with their grandparents. A myriad of factors underlie this issue but the primary ones being the generation gap and to an extent, the language barrier. With the proliferation of the Internet Of Things, we are increasingly connected to the internet, but not to the elderly. Their limited knowledge on this field restricts them from bonding over this common topic, and is further exacerbated by the fact that they may only be able to converse in their dialect, which makes communication even more arduous. Therefore we strive to develop into a learning guide for individuals to fall back to.
The most challenging part of Story Of A Story isn’t trying to find the best places to share your stories, nor thinking of how to design or create themes. The most challenging of it comes to gathering stories. It’s easy for people to read existing stories and articles, but it's a whole other story when it comes to asking people to share their own. Some have no idea what to share, where to start, while others may not be comfortable in opening up their experiences. Either way, we always try to look for new ways to encourage people to share their stories. From partnering with BooksActually, a local bookstore, to creating themes with guiding questions so that people don’t feel lost on where to start.
In fact it is this challenge that actually motivates me to continue. It forces me to think of different ways to garner participation and try to comprehend the psychology behind why people want to share in the first place. Coupled with the fact that it was only after the passing of my grandparents that I started to register the magnitude of my interactions with them. Their experience and wisdom gained throughout their years is invaluable and is applicable in our lives. It’s always the little things in life that bring us joy, and as cliche as it may sound, we should share this positive outlook with the rest of the world, one story at a time.
More about Hey, You Got Mail!
The battle against social isolation, in the case of this project, cannot be fought on individual fronts. And so, creating opportunities and empowering individuals have become a keystone to Hey, You Got Mail! If supporting the elderly in Singapore speaks to you, follow us on Instagram @heyyougotmailsg and head on over to our website at heyyougotmail.com and see how you can contribute!
Join us and let’s become a part of the solution together.