FORT LAUDERDALE – Heart2Heart has purchased 250 iPads to be distributed to isolated seniors in care centers throughout Broward County.
Heart2Heart will be distributing the iPads to at least 40 care centers. The centers will receive a minimum of five iPads each to be used by its residents as needed to connect with family, friends and Heart2Heart’s expanded base of digital volunteers.
“We’re excited to provide this vital resource to our seasoned saints,” said Heart2Heart Executive Director Juan Gallo. “We have seen firsthand how important it is to keep lines of communication open to seniors, especially as care centers continue to close in response to the omicron variant.”
Earlier this month, almost half of the centers Heart2Heart consistently interacts with closed their doors to visitors again, canceling scheduled events and regular volunteer visits. Heart2Heart quickly organized its volunteers to make deliveries of personal protective equipment to the closed centers. However, the closures underscored the continual need for alternative methods of interaction.
The funds for Heart2Heart’s new C.A.R.E. Tech Program are provided with a grant from The Salah Foundation. The Salah Foundation is a private foundation by invitation only.
To oversee the new program, Marisela Martinez was hired as the Digital Outreach Coordinator at the end of December. She has begun connecting with the care centers who will receive the iPads to prepare them for the program rollout in March.
“I love that this program will serve so many seniors in our community,” Martinez said. “We can make them feel like they still have a purpose in life and people who care.”
Seniors will connect to family, friends and volunteers on a HIPPA-compliant program called Virtual Visits. The Heart2Heart iPads will come installed with a predetermined set of programs and settings designed to make the iPads easy to use. Heart2Heart will provide training to the seniors as well as technical assistance and support for the care centers when needed.
To prepare for the new program, Heart2Heart is seeking 75 new digital volunteers. Volunteers will be matched to seniors who don’t have regular visits from family or friends. They will be asked to commit to one to two hours a week, building relationships with as many as four seniors.
All volunteers are trained and fingerprinted, ensuring that they are equipped to advance Heart2Heart’s mission to provide hope, share love and restore purpose to the aging population. The application and training to become a volunteer is available through Heart2Heart’s volunteer portal at: portal.heart2heartoutreach.org/register.
About Heart2Heart Outreach of South Florida
Since 2010, Heart2Heart has matched hundreds of volunteers with over 90 care centers in South Florida. These committed passionate volunteers have made an incredible difference in the lives of thousands of senior citizens who would otherwise have gotten little or no visits from family and friends. In 2018, Heart2Heart launched its innovative C.A.R.E. strategy (Connect, Advocate, Respond and Engage) to respond to a growing need within the aging community. For more information, visit www.heart2heartoutreach.org.