Homegrown Reinforcements Saving the Day
While the vast majority of ALEH’s extensive volunteering corps was sent home weeks ago to ensure the safety and continued health of our residents during the rapid spread of the novel Coronavirus, a handful of National Service volunteers and international volunteers – those who have worked with the staff for months and have a solid understanding of the residents’ needs – remain at each ALEH center, helping the staff plan and execute daily activities for the ALEH residents under unusual and unfamiliar conditions. ALEH’s sterilization protocols have become so extreme that these volunteers are now living at their respective centers for weeks at a time to limit the risk of contaminating our sterile environment when traveling to and from work. Like the rest of the staff, the volunteers are dressed in head-to-toe protective gear at all times and try to distance themselves from the residents when possible.
Additionally, the residents have been divided into very small groups that are separated by floors or residences in the hopes of containing the virus should it somehow sneak into a facility. As a result, many volunteers and residents with deep bonds are being separated for the sake of health and safety, so video conferencing (even from just a few hundred meters away) is being employed to maintain these connections. The smiles on the face of each and every resident is proof positive that these dedicated volunteers are an absolute godsend, keeping spirits high during uncertain times.
Reading the Situation, Giving from the Heart
When Jamie Kiffel-Alcheh, a children’s book author from Los Angeles, California, heard about ALEH’s COVID-19 Emergency Campaign via social media, she immediately made a donation to help keep our amazing ALEH residents safe and healthy during these uncertain times. But Jamie wasn’t quite done – she wanted to do more.
Understanding that our ALEH residents are hungry for exciting new activities during this unprecedented period of mandatory quarantine, Jamie reached out to ALEH’s Communications Department to discussed the viability of creating a video series in which she and her husband, Danny, would read her children’s books in Hebrew and English for the ALEH residents to enjoy at their leisure. After receiving an emphatic green light, Jamie churned out three videos in as many days.
Jamie’s videos were immediately shared with the staff at all four ALEH centers across Israel, and the residents are watching them on repeat. In addition to enjoying the great stories, the love that Jamie and Danny put into each video is palpable, and the ALEH residents are so grateful to their new friends for reaching out across the ocean to boost their spirits. This is kindness of the highest caliber!
The needs of our ALEH children cannot be put on hold.
Public support is more important than ever to guarantee that our residents receive their daily respiratory treatments, their many specialized therapies that are critical to their care and development, and the medications and formulas that are not included in Israel’s health basket. With events, visitors, and fundraising meetings on hold, these vital services are in danger.
Though our ALEH residents are being distanced from the public to safeguard their health, it is essential that they never feel alone.