Digital directory hopes to bring people back together


By Patsy Nicosia

Concerned that people needing people have forgotten how to make friends—and may not even know what’s out there—Susan Emerson, Susan Cimino-Cary, and June Collins are working to put together a digital directory to help everyone reconnect.
If you run a Chess Club at your business, yoga at your library, or are even just a part of a group of friends who get together to play tennis, they want to hear from you.
The idea grew out of efforts by the Community Services Board to evaluate mental health needs post-COVID.
When it became clear local mental health agencies were too busy to take the project on, Dr, Emerson, who works for Bassett Healthcare and is vice-chair of the CSB, and Ms. Cimino-Cary and Ms. Collins, both mostly-retired from the health care field, pledged to take it on themselves.
It’s been harder than they thought to track everything down and just sorting out the details—who’s that tennis contact? for example--has been time-consuming.
“So we’re reaching out,” Dr. Emerson said. “Anything and everything…let us know and we’ll let people know. Kids, adults, it doesn’t matter. The need is there.”
Though the three initially envisioned their directory as something they’d publish as a brochure, at least to start it’s going to be digital.
There’s no cost to be listed or to get a digital copy of the directory and everyone who submits a listing to will automatically be emailed a copy when it’s completed.
What they need:
• Name of activity or group.
• Topic if not obvious.
• Name, phone number (accepts texts?), email address for contact person; website address if available.
• Age group that can join or participate.
• When and how it meets (online, in-person) and whether advance registration is required.
• Fee if any.
A couple of things to keep in mind:
Groups that aren’t meeting now but that are likely to resume in the next six months or so are welcome to participate.
COVID requirements—which are likely to fluctuate—won’t be listed.
The women are hoping to have all of the information they need gathered in the next couple of weeks with the directory available in September or October.
Once it’s done, they’re done, they said; they’re hoping someone else will pick up the project and continue to update it, possibly taking it to a print product.
“We see it as something that fills a void,” Dr. Emerson said, “but once we have it done, we have other projects we want to move onto. We’re hoping someone else sees it as valuable and takes it on.”