St. John’s Meadows Resident Featured with Harley School Pen Pal

During the COVID-19 pandemic, physical distancing and visitation restrictions have been put in place to keep older adults safe. Although critically important to mitigating the spread of the virus in places like senior communities, a side effect of these necessary precautions can be an increase in feelings of isolation. “It’s been very lonely,” says Doris Adamek, a St. John’s Meadows resident who has been self-isolating since March.

Elizabeth Kabes, a high school senior at the Harley School in Brighton, has of course experienced loss of her own during the pandemic. In lieu of the typical curriculum for Harley’s long-running Hospice Class open to members of the senior class, Elizabeth’s school has created a matching program between students and elders in independent and assisted living at St. John’s. “To be able to talk to someone, to talk to Doris and hear her stories,” said Elizabeth. “It’s been a joy.”

Doris and Elizabeth have been communicating through letters and cards since mid-April. “This has been a great connection for me,” says Doris. She and Elizabeth finally met, albeit virtually, on a Zoom video chat earlier this week. This meeting was featured by Ginny Ryan on 13 WHAM news.

Click here to see 13 WHAM story highlighting Doris and Elizabeth’s first video chat

This collaboration, which has matched several Harley School students with St. John’s residents, comes on the heels of last year’s launch of the W.I.S.E. collaboration that connected Harley fifth graders and St. John’s residents in a unique classroom experience.

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