“In a world so divided there is no greater form of activism than to stand for connection rather than disconnection.”
Two Salem Health champions are turning their passion into reality by bringing a national movement called Sidewalk Talk to Salem.
Kelly Ward and Lindsey Cretella are hosting the first free Sidewalk Talk at Salem’s Riverfront Park on Saturday, May 18. Swing by from 1 to 3 p.m. to see what it’s all about!
Lindsey is an RN in our PACU unit; Kelly is outpatient RN care manager for Salem Health Medical Group. They joined this year’s Community Champions team in January and quickly found their project — bridging communication gaps by creating forums where people can be seen and heard in a safe, compassionate setting.
What is Sidewalk Talk?
In 2014, two San Francisco therapists shared a vision: to help heal that which divides us through the fine art of skilled listening. They gathered 26 colleagues, practiced listening skills and came up with a curriculum and model for listening on sidewalks together.
Listeners set up chairs and signs, offering to listen to anyone walking by. SWT became a growing, international nonprofit initiative in 40 cities in 12 countries with more than 1,700 listeners. They have a simple but profound goal: To address isolation with simple, no-strings-attached human connections.
Kelly and Lindsey hope to inspire others to join them. If you’d like to become a listener:
“When we discovered this movement, we got excited and knew exactly what our project would be and how easy it is for others to join,” Kelly said, noting you buy a t-shirt, follow the training, and bring an open heart and an empty chair to informal “sidewalk talks.”
They plan to have a meetup for all listeners a week or two before the event to meet other listeners, make signs, review the code of conduct and sign waivers.
To learn more, go to Sidewalk Talk’s website: sidewalktalksf.com.
The first Salem SWT event is Saturday, May 18, from 1 to 3 p.m. at Riverfront Park near the statue of Governor Tom McCall (the fisherman). Check out their Facebook page here. You can register to attend here.