Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, fostering meaningful relationships and genuine human connections has never been more critical, particularly among older adults. Social isolation and loneliness have long had a hold on aging communities. There is now an unprecedented opportunity to meaningfully change the situation. This presentation will highlight a new framework by which individual providers and community health specialists can assess social isolation and loneliness. Within this framework, collected and analyzed local data support the implications of findings about social connections. Specific projects, designed to show how a community came together to address the problems identified, are highlighted. The initiatives, Project Blue Star and Men’s Shed’s, originating within the St Cloud Community, as well as additional collaborative efforts, can potentially be expanded across Minnesota.Click here to view the webinar details and access the free handouts.