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Updates from Commit to Connect

JUNE 2024

Commit to Connect Updates

New Guide on Evaluating Social Connection Programs Now Available 

Looking to learn more about outcome evaluation of social isolation and loneliness programs and interventions supporting older adults and people with disabilities? The Six Considerations for Outcome Evaluation of Social Engagement Programs Serving Older Adults and People With Disabilities, a new topical guide from Commit to Connect, highlights key considerations and resources in measuring outcomes for programs promoting social connections.  

Key Takeaways From the 2024 National Summit to Increase Social Connections

Did you miss the 2024 National Summit to Increase Social Connections hosted by Commit to Connect and engAGED? This two-day event, held on May 14 and 15, focused on technology and social connections. Attendees of the summit heard from U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, as well as other national, state, and local leaders on innovative programs and the latest resources to support your social connection work. Find recordings and slides from both days as well as a resource summary here.

Join Commit to Connect and engAGED for a Webinar on Advancing Social Connection Through Art and Creative Expression


Engaging in the creative arts have proven benefits in promoting the social connection of older adults. To find out more, join Commit to Connect and engAGED on June 27 from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM ET, for a webinar and Office Hours call focused on promoting social connection through creative expression and art. This webinar will highlight innovative programs utilizing art to help people connect with others. Attendees will hear from the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, Central Vermont Council on Aging, and Dances For A Variable Population. Immediately following, Commit to Connect and engAGED will host a 30-minute Office Hours session to allow for open discussion with the webinar speakers and participants. The webinar and Office Hours will include CART closed captioning and American Sign Language interpretation.  

Register Now!

Meet a Champion: Supporting the Social Connection Needs of People With Disabilities 

“People with disabilities are among the most segregated and isolated members of society,” according to this month’s featured Champion, Amy Ballinger, who serves as a Community Engagement Manager at Independence, Inc., an organization that supports the social connection needs of people with disabilities in Lawrence, KS. Commit to Connect is pleased to highlight Nationwide Network of Champions in our bi-monthly blog series shares innovative social connection efforts led by Commit to Connect Champions across the country. Check out Amy’s full blog post here

Are you interested in having your organization featured in an upcoming blog post? Make sure you are registered for the Commit to Connect Nationwide Network of Champions.  

Read the Blog Post

Nationwide Network of Champions: Making Peer Connections

As a member of the Commit to Connect Nationwide Network of Champions, you can connect with leaders in your state, seek advice from other leaders engaged in social connection programming, or share information on upcoming social engagement events. This platform is a no-cost virtual space for passionate leaders and innovators at the local, state, and national levels dedicated to ending social isolation and loneliness. Explore the interactive Champions map to see where the nearly 500 organizations represented on the Network are working to address social connection. Or consider adding to recent community forum discussion threads on the impact of socialization on health and accessing virtual opportunities. Become a Champion and join the discussion today!

Connect With Our Team at the USAging Annual Conference

The Commit to Connect team is hard at work highlighting the importance of social connectedness—and key resources and supports from Commit to Connect! Look for us at USAging's 49th Annual Conference and Tradeshow, July 8–11, and attend the Commit to Connect session on July 10, where we will be addressing ways to evaluate social engagement programs and strategies to increase social connection. Are you interested in having Commit to Connect present to your social isolation or loneliness initiative? Contact the team at

Recent Resources and Research

  • Resource: In celebration of this year’s Older Americans Month, Kari Benson, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Aging with the Administration for Community Living’s Administration on Aging, wrote a blog post recognizing the impact and power of social connection on health, well-being and communities. 
  • Resource: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, through its Administration for Community Living, released Aging in the United States: A Strategic Framework for a National Plan on Aging. The report provides a framework for collaboration among the federal, state, and local levels as well as the public and private sectors to inform a national set of recommendations to advance healthy aging and age-friendly communities. In the report, social connection is noted as an area of focus. 
  • Resource: July marks the 34th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) being signed into law. Consider hosting a special event to celebrate the talents and achievements of people with disabilities. For ideas on how to commemorate this year’s anniversary, visit the ADA National Network's #ADA34 webpage.
  • Resource: The New York Academy of Medicine and The John A. Hartford Foundation recently released the report, Shaping a Social Isolation Strategy for Older Adults: Key Takeaways From a Multidisciplinary Convening. This report was developed following a convening held in January that brought together more than 70 stakeholders to address strategies to improve the social connection of older adults.
  • Report: The Foundation for Social Connection recently launched the SOCIAL Framework in the Built Environment report. This report explores how stakeholders can foster connection through the design, planning, and facilitation of the built environment of where we live, work, and play. Read the report to learn more.
  • Research: Spending time in nature has been shown to decrease the effects of loneliness. This 2024 systemic review of 38 articles on interventions that incorporate nature into group-based activities found that including natural elements spurred connectedness and belonging among participants.
  • Research: A study of older adults in Hong Kong found that participating in a telephone volunteer program led to decreased loneliness among the volunteers. Researchers conducting the study believe this could be a scalable model to addressing the loneliness epidemic.  

Upcoming Events

Funding for this initiative was made possible by contract no. HHSP233201500088I from ACL. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.