Emily Hoyt and Laura York, graduate students in the certificate program in the Center for Gerontology and in Public Health, organized the COVID Companions program, a buddy program that connects older adults with a friend in the New River Valley.

The partnership also includes the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets, the New River Valley Public Health Task Force, the Blacksburg Police Department, and the Blacksburg Health Department.

By providing friendship through a weekly phone call and technology support in the form of a Fire HD tablet and guidance on how to use it, the program seeks to address the isolation and inability to navigate technology frequently experienced by older adults.