By Marjorie Glatt, Special Projects Coordinator at YUConnects
Can social distancing be compatible with social events for singles? With government and medical guidelines preventing in-person activities for the foreseeable future, YUConnects has been reimagining meeting opportunities with activities that are more popular, and even more successful, than ever before.
“What’s the Plan? Building Wealth in a Pandemic … and Beyond” was a unique singles Zoom event created for the COVID crisis and the new dating era.
Last Wednesday, nearly 90 young professionals were provided key financial planning guidance by Stacey Zrihen, senior financial adviser for Achiezer’s Westwood Financial Management Program. Her interesting and clear PowerPoint presentation explained budgeting basics, the difference between an ETF and a mutual fund, and current investment strategies, plus much more. The Zoom chat allowed the participants to ask about student loans, savings priorities, and a host of other queries appropriate for the millennial crowd.
What made the event stand out more than any other informative Zoom lecture were the breakout rooms that followed. The men and women “moved” into smaller online groups of 10–12 people, with a friendly matchmaker/facilitator. Savings vs. spending attitudes and financial preparedness for marriage led to interesting and lively conversations.
“I rarely go to a singles event which offers information on important topics like finances,” said one 28-year-old woman. “I’m glad I was able to attend!” An additional benefit was that a virtual event was able to accommodate participants worldwide. One young man joined from Israel (it was 4 a.m. for him!) and others joined from Wisconsin, California, and Ohio.
YUConnects staff and the volunteer matchmakers have been following up on the numerous requests after the event, encouraging everyone to accept a one-on-one video chat or phone call with a participant. Many agree with “it’s just a call” concept and are now broadening their horizons. Since the event on July 15, a number of new couples have already connected and chatted privately.
Traditional opportunities to meet often revolved around college campuses, camps, workplace, or weekly Shabbos meals with friends. Those avenues are now largely closed. Creative methods are necessary to connect men and women in an appropriate and meaningful fashion. YUConnects is searching and experimenting with new approaches and welcomes ideas or input from the community. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with comments or suggestions.