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Sidewalk Talk is back! Check it out June 30

A folding chair on a sidewalk at Salem Riverfront Park

Salem’s first Sidewalk Talk “listening gig” on May 18 went so well they’re doing it again on June 30, from 11 a.m. to around 1 p.m. at  Riverfront Park, on the last day of the World Beat Festival. They’ll be on the north bridge (known as the RR track bridge)

Salem Health nurses Kelly Ward and Lindsey Cretella brought the SWT national movement to Salem as part of their Community Champions project. They’re recruiting more listeners, if you want to join them!

“I really enjoyed it. It’s interesting the range of responses, from enthusiasm to distrust, but all people seemed to come back and ask questions even if the initial response was negative,” said Salem Hospital registered nurse and listener Todd V. “The connection with other people without having an agenda other than to listen was really refreshing.” 

Here’s what they do:

Listeners set up chairs and signs, offering to listen to anyone walking by. They have a simple but profound goal: To address isolation with no-strings-attached human connections. SWT is a nonprofit initiative in 40 cities in 12 countries with more than 1,700 listeners.

If you’d like to become a listener:

  • Become a member of Sidewalk Talk at (A small donation of any amount is required to become a member of SWT.)
  • Complete the listener training.
  • Purchase your Sidewalk Talk t-shirt (ASAP as they take a while to get to you).
  • Bring two chairs (for you and a talker). Lindsey and Kelly can provide chairs, as needed.
  • Sign a waiver (HIPAA).
  • Adhere to the listener code of conduct.

If you’d like to learn more, email Kelly Ward


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