In the “Through Their Windows” series, presented by TELUS, we are showcasing uplifting and inspiring stories about how the people of Vancouver are spreading kindness and staying connected while maintaining physical distancing in their homes during COVID-19.
For years, Mychele & Yaniv have wanted to work together on a creative project, but had found it difficult to commit to one due to their busy lives. That changed during the COVID-19 pandemic, when they both found themselves working from home, social isolating, and listening to a very influential podcast.
“We got our inspiration from a podcast named TigerBelly by comedian Bobby Lee and his wife Khalyla, which was our saving grace in the first few weeks of isolation when our stressors were at their peak. That act of having someone we didn’t know bring us so much comfort and stress relief made us wonder if we could do something similar for our friends and families.”
“We began feeling inspired to create something that would help us bring deeper meaning to a situation that often felt overwhelming. We knew if we were feeling the stress and uncertainty that came with this pandemic, others likely were too, and we thought it was important for someone to share those stories.”
From there, Social Witnessing was born.
“To alleviate the disconnect created by social distancing, we started the Social Witnessing podcast. We speak to everyday Canadians about their COVID-19 experience, what life has been like for them, and what their stressors and struggles have been.”
Starting from their homebase, Mychele and Yaniv had found their podcast community begin to grow organically and exponentially.
“Our first podcast guest ever was our six-year-old son, who actually vocalized some of his own hardships to us for the very first time since isolation started. From there we started reaching out to people we knew and people we thought were interesting who would have interesting stories to tell about the state of the world today, such as doctors, government essential service workers, small business owners, parents, and teachers. We were then fortunate enough to begin receiving referrals from those guests and our listeners. We also invite those interested in becoming a podcast guest to reach out to us on Instagram.”
Mychele & Yaniv. Photo: Good Side Photo
In their conversations with their guests, the podcast hosts have gotten to dive deep into the realities of everyday people during the pandemic.
“Our guests share thoughts on not only the pandemic from a personal level, but also how it relates to their professions, the Vancouver housing market, their perceptions of the urban versus rural living, and the realigning of their priorities in the wake of this life-altering situation.”
In this intimate setting, guests have shared some fascinating stories about how they’ve been able to make a difference in their communities during COVID-19, including how an offhand comment by Nova Scotia’s premier saved one guest’s business and helped her raise $115,000 for Canadian charities, and how one mother’s children’s book teaching kids about COVID-19 was the subject of Sophie Trudeau’s first Instagram post after announcing she had contracted the disease.
Above all, Mychele and Yaniv have been blown away by how much they, their guests, and their listeners have been learning from and leaning on each other through Social Witnessing.
"The best part of each podcast is asking our guests what positives they’ve taken away from this experience and hearing all the different ways everyday people are persevering and, in some cases, even flourishing during these tough times. Although we make it a point to stress that this experience doesn’t need to be life-redefining for everyone - that some days it’s ok just to make it through the day in one piece - listening to our guests share even their smallest triumphs has helped us grow stronger in our own lives and shown us that even though we, as a society, are more separate than we’ve ever been, at the end of the day, we truly are all in this together."
"Connecting with others has honestly been the most healing part of this journey for us. Hearing about other people’s struggles and anxieties showed us we weren’t going through it alone and, we hope, doing the same for our listeners."
This series has been kindly presented by TELUS. Did you know that they’re waiving home internet overage charges during COVID-19 to help you #stayconnected? Learn more at telus.com/covid19