The emergence of a new year brings the tradition to reflect on what we accomplished in the past year and note what we intend to act on in the upcoming year. We are immensely proud of our work at the Coalition to End Social Isolation Loneliness and Foundation for Social Connection, and we couldn’t have done it without the dedication and support of our members and colleagues. 2022 saw tremendous growth and commitment to action that gives us exciting momentum as we enter 2023. Take a look at our year-end recap and the commitments to action proclaimed at our Annual Action Forum.  

As we jumpstart 2023, we want to share some of our individual resolutions and commitments to connection in hopes it motivates you as we continue our collective fight to end social isolation and loneliness. In the words of George Eliot, 

Great things are not done by impulse but by a series of small things brought together. 

Let all our “small things” produce ”great things” in the New Year! And as always, Thank you for your support! 

Edward Garcia, Founder and Board Chair (F4SC) 

This past year was an epic one for me and the new connections I was blessed to build with national and global organizations – all working to tackle social isolation and loneliness. From the World Health Organization, government and civil society leaders from France to Romania, to Academic institutions, foundations, and celebrities in the US like Harvard University, the Einhorn Collaborative, and Goldie Hawn, our reach and collaboration as an organization has blossomed with fervor and impact.  This continued outward growth will continue in 2023, and I am making a commitment for inward growth at the same time. Our lives move at breakneck speeds, and I’ve found that the process of accomplishment can breed loneliness for me.  I’m focusing my intentions in 2023 to be more present with myself and others and to acknowledge the joy of living each moment – creating connection in the day-to-day – and living as an example for those around me.  

Jillian Racoosin, Deputy Executive Director  

I had a *few* very exciting transitions at the end of 2022. I moved to Asheville, NC with my partner and we are planning our Fall nuptials! Being in a new city can definitely feel socially isolating and lonely at times…and I’m committed to diving into my new community headfirst. I quickly joined a gym and found a yoga studio that I love. My instructor Joe inspires 50+ of us to show up week after week on Saturday mornings, almost as a ritual to breathe together and be in community together. As I shift to remote work, I also commit to finding ways to stay connected with my teammates and partners. We instituted “3 good things”, a practice we start each Friday together, sharing 3 good personal things that have gone on in our weeks. As I sit writing this staring out of my office window, with the blue ridge mountains in the background, I feel present and calm and inspired to take on exciting challenges to bridge connection in the year ahead. 

Meg Wallace, Coalition Manager 

2022 brought me many exciting changes both in my career and personally, and in 2023 I’m looking forward to turning outward and digging deeper into my community. This year, I’m committing to becoming more connected with the immediate community around my home in Washington, DC. I often find myself in the comfortable pattern of staying within my usual social routine, which can sometimes make my personal ‘community’ feel smaller and smaller. Simple and friendly outreach to neighbors is an easy way to foster community and attending resident events hosted by our apartment building to get to know each other better is a great place to start! Given my home’s close proximity to Gallaudet University, I am also working to begin learning ASL (American Sign Language) so that I can better connect with neighbors who are deaf and hard of hearing. I’m coming into 2023 feeling so inspired and grateful to my colleagues and our partners within the Coalition who keep this important work moving forward.  

Rachel Jordan , Policy Associate

Over the course of the pandemic, I had a newfound value for the friendships in my life, whether near or far, in-person or virtual. Checking in with friends over the phone, for a virtual workout class, or for a neighborhood walk truly kept me grounded. I’m grateful that these practices continued into 2021 and 2022. This year, in addition to strengthening my current friendships, I’m excited to form new ones. I’m committed to reaching out to people in my life who I may not know as well or even know at all. Despite being an extroverted person, it can still be isolating and difficult to put yourself out there. In 2023, I’m excited to lead with openness and kindness and embrace new friendships as well as cherish current ones.  

Daneen Sekoni, Policy & Advocacy Lead

I welcomed 2 babies during the pandemic. By January 2020, I had a 4 month old son and was about 6 weeks pregnant. Being a new mother presented its own challenges that I did not expect. I had no idea that I would lose my social circle and friendships because motherhood required my full and constant attention. While I was learning to adapt to being a mom, the pandemic forced all of us to practice social distancing and other measures, which extended well into 2022. Unfortunately, this meant that my young children stayed home and had little social interaction with others because I wanted to protect them. However, this meant that they were not engaging or interacting with the world around them. I realized that I cannot let fear continue to dictate my actions and their social and emotional development. For 2023, I am committed to exposing my children to more social activities like swimming, soccer, and even something as simple as going to the mall.  

Debra McCarron , Senior Communications Advisor

The social distancing needed during COVID instilled habits in me that fostered disconnection and isolation – passing on social events, making excuses that I was too busy for my service work, and falling into a cocooning mode when invitations were extended. If this sounds like you – you are not alone in feeling this way. I started breaking these habits in 2022 by joining the Coalition and Foundation’s team and returning to in-person work, but in 2023 I intend to break through the cycle and do so much more! Pre-COVID, I actively participated in various service organizations through membership or volunteering. Every time I participate in a meeting or event with these organizations, my energy level spikes, and I feel a resurgence of purpose. This year, I am committing to reviving two volunteer opportunities, one at the National Zoo here in DC and one with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Both organizations allow me to pay it forward and connect me with people I would not normally intersect with. 

Additionally, I hope to overcome my phone phobia and reach out with a quick text or call to people I have lost touch with who have not been a friend and source of support in the past. I have a list of five to start and hope it creates a snowball effect by the year’s end.  

Breaking the cycle of these habits is not easy, but if I take a small bit each day, I know I can make a difference for myself and the people I connect with!      

Shannon Vyvijal , Social Connection Fellow

As I head into 2023, and my last semester of graduate school, I’ve realized I haven’t stopped to reflect or set goals as much as I used to. In fact, the last time I made a New Year’s resolution was in 2020. Looking back now, I had so many exciting opportunities, big accomplishments, and great people come into my life in 2022. However, I also remember feeling incredibly lonely and isolated at times throughout the year. Head down in my work, quickly moving from one thing to the next. To make sure I make the most of 2023, I’m challenging myself to set more time aside to be with friends and explore Washington, D.C. One great idea that I’ve seen others do is to begin each month by scheduling things like “one breakfast meet-up,” “a phone call with an old friend,” “one lunch date,” “one movie night,” etc. This way, no matter how busy or chaotic things get, I’ll still have these opportunities to connect with others and make some really great memories. I can’t wait to see what 2023 brings! 

Abigail Barth , Research and Innovation Program Manager

I’m committed this year to being more compassionate – to myself and others- to foster more connectedness with my friends, family, colleagues, and all the different people I encounter in my day-to-day life. Often, when we experience difficult feelings and situations, we feel like we are the only ones going through them. As a result, we can turn inward and isolate ourselves, emotionally or physically, from others. Instead, we can focus on how what we go through – including the bad – connects us all. Difficult feelings are part of our shared experience of being human. This year, I am committing to reminding myself of these shared experiences, turning toward others when I’m struggling, and bringing more compassion and kindness to others going through difficult times.  

Abby Gadbois, Policy Analyst

I begin each year with a new theme to help guide my decisions and keep me accountable for my goals. Last year’s theme was to rise to the challenge, which helped me make the leap to join the team at CESIL. This year I’m focusing on growing my roots. Most of my family lives in Minnesota, which sometimes makes it harder to stay connected, but I’m planning at least one trip home for my sister’s wedding. I’m also reconnecting to some of my family’s traditions by re-learning how to make stained glass with my grandfather’s tools and encouraging more than weeds to grow in my yard.  

Rosalee Blalock, Implementation and Innovation Program Manager

2023 is the year of changes for me. I’m starting the year by joining the Foundation for Social Connection and diving into new and unfamiliar territory on a few levels which makes me very excited. I’ll also be moving to Charlotte, NC this summer which means becoming familiar with and acclimating to a new environment. I’m looking forward to learning and pushing myself out of my comfort zone, both personally and professionally, while also remembering to give myself grace and focus on self-care which for me means connecting more with friends and family, reading, and traveling.