Lori Armstrong is the town manager of Stoneville, North Carolina. Her session “Overcoming Isolation During COVID19” will take place on September 23, 2020 4:00pm to 4:45pm ET.

Check out our Q & A with Lori Armstrong as she tells us more about what this topic means to her and what led her to present at UNITE.

What is motivating you to present on this topic?

Lori Armstrong: My motivation for presenting on this topic stems from a love of public service and relationship building. Another motivating factor is keeping our part-time parks and recreation director working throughout this pandemic during a time of pause for organized sports and group activity participation.

What do you want the audience to take away?

Lori Armstrong:Audience members will take away a sense of empowerment that local government, especially small towns, can use creativity and a “thinking outside the box” method when faced with residential social isolation. Along with empowerment, audience members will take away a plan of action using the Caring Calls Program as an example.

In your own words, what does this topic mean to you?

Lori Armstrong: To me, social isolation and a pandemic go hand in hand. Local governments need managers that know their community and their resident’s needs. Approximately 38% of our residents are 50 and over. COVID-19 forced a new perspective on social isolation and as a town our goal was simple – reach out by phone to as many residents as possible on a regular basis. Stay at home orders and predisposed older residents, coupled with our rural location encouraged town staff and council members to rethink options of reaching out to residents. Ultimately, phone calls identified residents in need, produced an increased knowledge of Parks and Recreation in our 50 and over population, and created a referral system for more residential relationship building.

Do you have any “lessons learned” on this topic?

Lori Armstrong: A valuable lesson learned rather quickly into this process is once phone calls start and relationships are building, our 50 and over population mobilized to create their own walking program (now to find additional resources).

What to know about the city of Stoneville:

Community Population (US Census): 1260

Land area (in square miles): 1.2

Staff FTEs (full-time employee equivalents): 11

Website Address: www.town.stoneville.nc.us