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The inspiring story of Debbie & Chris

The inspiring story of Debbie & Chris

All around the world, incredible Stitchers are doing great things for the members of their communities.

We call these members our Stitch “Ambassadors”, and two of the most amazing ambassadors we have are Debbie & Chris from Chandler, Arizona.

We’d like to share their story with you.

Debbie joined Stitch in early 2019, when SilverSneakers partnered with Stitch to provide complimentary Stitch memberships to SilverSneakers members in the Phoenix area.

After attending an information session about Stitch at the SilverSneakers headquarters, Debbie fell in love with the concept of Stitch and the community’s social mission. Debbie introduced her sister Chris to Stitch soon afterwards. 

Chris (left) and Debbie (right)

Debbie and Chris are such strong supporters of Stitch’s purpose that they have made it their mission to help improve the lives of their fellow members, spread the word about Stitch, and help the community grow and succeed in the greater Phoenix area (and beyond).

Here are just some of the things Debbie and Chris have done, on their own initiative, to make Stitch in Phoenix great.

Hosting activities

Debbie and Chris began by suggesting and hosting activities for other members in their area. The started with simple activities like lunches and coffee get-togethers, then as their local friendship circle grew this expanded to movie outings, plays, musicals, trivia, and happy hours!

While wonderful in bringing the community together, these activities also serve as a way of supporting community members who might find certain times of the year challenging.

Debbie hosted a Mother’s Day lunch, for example, so that members who didn’t have children nearby, or didn’t have children at all, wouldn’t feel isolated on this day. 

Here is what fellow member Pat posted after the Mother’s Day lunch:

I am a mother of two, my son will be in San Diego and my daughter in Chicago so if I cannot be with my kiddos I am thankful to have friends to share the day. Thank you Debbie Oliver.

Suggesting an activity isn’t just something fun to do for yourself. Every time you suggest something to do, you’re giving other members an opportunity to enrich their lives and get connected with like-minded individuals. Debbie and Chris were showing just how great this can be.

And they were only just getting started.

Empowering the community

Debbie and Chris next set their sights on enabling and empowering other members in their area, who might have wanted to suggest activities but felt hesitant about doing so.

Debbie made it her mission, in fact, to help all the Stitch members she meets earn Diamond status on Stitch. She would not only teach new members how to suggest and create activities, she would organize events with other members to help them earn Diamond status. Both she and Chris would help welcome and verify new members to the community, and as a result the community in the Chandler area grew more quickly and became more active than any other part of Phoenix!

And then … a world first

Debbie’s next idea was to help the local community grow by creating events specifically designed to introduce new people to Stitch. One of her goals was to help the community grow in areas outside Chandler, such as Phoenix’s West Valley.

She and Chris came up with idea of posting information night events on Meetup. They’ve held two sessions so far, with over 30 people coming to each.

At these events they decorated the tables, offered lucky door prizes, gave presentations about how Stitch has impacted their lives, and helped interested new members sign up and download the Stitch app. 

And in a Stitch world first, Debbie and Chris took their laptop and television to their first Meetup event (yes, you read that correctly) and set them up so their attendees could connect with Stitch Founder and CEO Andrew Dowling in a live video chat! 

So at 6pm on a Monday night in Phoenix, a group of 30+ people heard from and asked questions of Andrew, who was 7,500 miles away in Sydney! That’s Andrew in the image below.

Debbie and Chris are the first ever Stitchers to organise and host a multi-continental Stitch event! What incredible trailblazers!

Andrew’s live video chat with Debbie, Chris, and 30 other Stitch members

And another one

Not content with ONE world first, Debbie and Chris then decided to add another one to their list of accomplishments. They generated local press coverage for the community.

Debbie and Chris reached out to their local newspaper, believing that a story in the paper would be a great way of introducing Stitch to more people across Phoenix. 

Not only did they manage to get their story featured in the newspaper, it was positioned on the front page!

Read the full article here: Page one and page two.

The best part about all of this is that Debbie tells us that she’s got more out of being a part of Stitch than anyone she knows. (If you don’t believe us, check out Debbie’s video on the Stitch video page.)

We see this all the time: the members who get most involved in Stitch are the ones who end up getting the most out of the experience.

How YOU can get involved

If you’d like to be like Debbie and Chris and help spread the word about Stitch, we would love you to get involved! The community is built on member contributions and every contribution makes a difference.

Firstly, host your own activities. Meet at a cafe for a drink. Go for lunch. Watch a movie. Go for a walk. It doesn’t matter what it is — just do it! 

You could hand out invitation cards with your personal invite code to people you believe could benefit from using Stitch. If they use your code they’ll receive a discount and you’ll receive membership points which will increase your status and trust on Stitch. You’ll then be able to redeem your points for free Community memberships and other perks!

Do you visit or live near a community centre or library that offers events or services for people over 50? Try placing a flyer on their community board to raise awareness about the community in your area. 

Do you have a background in marketing or public relations and believe you could help us spread the word in your city? We’d love to hear from you. Contact us here.

And if you’d like to host your own information nights, just like Debbie and Chris, or share your story with your local newspaper, or even if you have other ideas of your own, feel free to get in touch with us and we’ll help you make it happen!


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