SmilesUp conversation starter cards make it so easy to connect with strangers. It gets things going by brightening up mental acuity through the stimulation of curiosity and sensory activation. Each card has scripture and a positive theme. They are winsome, affirming, upbeat. Inexpensive enough you can leave it behind as your "thank you" for the joy the conversation has brought you. Click to see larger pictures of six of them and read the account below.
HOW A GROUP OF "FRAIDIES" WENT FROM FEAR TO CONFIDENCE
AFTER ONLY 25 MINUTES OF TRAINING
This is just how it happened at a church near Chattanooga, TN a couple years ago. For two Sundays bulletin announcements invited people who felt called to visit residents of long-term care centers but who had no experience visiting strangers to attend brief training (just 25 minutes!) and then go visiting. Now, the big obstacle for many people is fear: "I won't know what to say." So we gave each of these nervous new volunteer visitors a set of Smiles Up cards with some ideas about how to use them to start a conversation. Then we went to a facility. They filled out a survey before they went and again, after they each made two one-to-one visits. Here is how the moods of those "fraidy cat" visitors changed, as they rated themselves from 1 to 5:
Why it works. The training equips them to go in and have the visit. The experience of working with the Lord in ministering to His people (and to those who don't know Him) changes attitudes. A SmilesUp card, which uses the tried and true Montessori principle of sensory stimulation, enlivens the resident's cognition and increases the visitor's confidence--it prepares the way for conversation that can move in any direction that God leads, and it leaves behind affirmation of His continuing love and presence. Fraidies no more, each of these volunteers has gone back to visit again.
Each card has verses on the back side that provide a natural transition to Christian topics if the resident is inclined at that time for the conversation to go that way. If not, that's okay. The volunteer's first goal is to show friendship and acceptance to the resident, just as Christ has done with us. The card is left with the resident as a reminder of the fact that God loves them and is available to them, now and forever!
3 each of 10 styles (30 cards total) with suggestions for their use, $7.50.