I have recently started an important community service project as I pledged to do at my Bar Mitzvah with Jewish Family Services. I am assisting with a pilot program that will help to get some of the homebound or lonely elderly in Bergen County (many of them Holocaust survivors) a way to communicate with family members and friends through modern tools like Skype. The pilot program will start with only 20 members of the local community and if it goes well, will expand out to a larger elderly population.
I am the only teen working on this project with the JFS planning team, and it has been an incredible experience sitting in and participating in adult meetings. But what I am really looking forward to will be when I will be part of a team that teaches the pilot group of elderly at their individual homes how to use Skype and to practice with them until the can use it on their own.
I am writing to all of you today to ask something very simple. I would like to ask all of you to look at home and at the office to see if you have any old, but working computers, or an iPad that you may no longer want or need that could be donated to JFS for this project. JFS is working with a grant to launch this program, but any funds that can be saved on hardware JFS can allocate towards more training time for the participants, and possibly getting a larger group involved.
I have already gathered a number of computers from my parent’s offices, but JFS could certainly use more. If you have old computers laying around that are in working order, rather than throwing them away, please consider donating them to help someone in need communicate with their family and friends. We will arrange to get the computers picked up, or they can be dropped off at JFS’s offices in Teaneck.
We are very excited at JFS Bergen & North Hudson to be starting this demonstration project with our elders. We will be bringing internet technology to the homes of 20 identified elders- either computers or IPads- and working with them to help reduce social isolation. Follow this Blog as I share the trials and tribulations of this exciting initiative. Your comments are welcome as we roll this out.