Raising Awareness of Volunteerism
ー“Emotional Care” which we are aiming to is making a friendly visit to the elderly for sympathizing with them through active listening, and helping their autonomy.
The Univers Volunteers are the group of senior volunteers who carefully listen to elderly. They have been continuing volunteer activities as talking companions of the friendly visit, in order to aim for emotional care of the elderly.
Since The Univers Foundation was founded in 1992, the foundation had conducted the two-week program of “University of Michigan the Geometric Summer Seminar” for 10 years and dispatched specialists in the field of health and medical care such as doctors, nurses, and social workers to the University of Michigan. At the specialized clinic for the elderly under the umbrella of the University of Michigan Medical Center, so called the peer volunteers who were a part of constructed member of “Team Approach,” were working actively together with various specialists. “Peer” stands for a company and fellow worker. The elderly who used to receive medical treatment and recovered afterwards started volunteer training to visit the elderly’s home in local area regularly. For example, they went out together for the meal, talked together, and went to see a doctor together. This “Friendly-visit” activity was the main program.
There is a mutual understanding because of the same generation. “Univers Volunteers” was established as one of the role model of peer volunteers in Michigan.
In April of 1995, the Univers Volunteers KOBE (UV KOBE) was established to support mental healthcare of the elderly victims of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake who lived alone in temporary housing. In cooperation with the social welfare council and a local volunteer center, UV KOBE started visiting the temporary housing in the cities of Kobe, Nishinomiya, and Ashiya in order to provide emotional care for them.
Over the years since the earthquake occurred, temporary housings have closed. However, UV KOBE members have been continuing to visit the elderly living in reconstructed buildings and new houses. They hold activities such as tea parties and cooking parties for the residents to rebuild community where the elderly can live in peace . Additionally, the members have opened up the space in the UV KOBE office to hold the salon called “Fuji no Hiroba (Wisteria Square)” to the elderly in the community.
Help the commemorative ceremony "1．17 Lights for KOBE"
"Friendly visit" to temporary housing
The Univers Foundation had hold “Volunteer Training Course to support elderly’s emotional care since 1997. This course where psychiatrists and clinical psychologists delivered lectures, provided leanings of basic attitude as a volunteer who mentally support elderly. People who completed this course became main members of the Univers Volunteers TOKYO (UV TOKYO) which was established in August, 2000.
In the April of 2001, the eruption of Mount Oyama on the Miyake Island occurred and members of UV TOKYO started friendly visits to the victims and this volunteer activity continued until the completion of their return to the Miyake Island in February, 2005. Currently, UV TOKYO volunteers have been continuing friendly visits to the elderly in Tachikawa and a few neighbor cities. They are introduced to UV TOKYO from Community General Support Center and a care manager of Designated in Home Long-Term Care Support Provider.
Moreover, to be part of active listening volunteer network, UV TOKYO participated at “The 8th Japan Society of Care Management Conference” which was held in 2009 at the Pacific Yokohama Hall. In November of 2011, UV TOKYO participated in “The 20th Japan Volunteer Festival in Tokyo” and provided a presentation to share their experiences of friendly visits and affirmed the importance of active listening provided by volunteers.