The Ethel Project
Hello! My name is Hailey Wilson, and I am a Sophomore at Holton-Arms School in Bethesda, Maryland. During these tough times with the coronavirus, I believe I can make a difference in senior citizens' lives through interaction with their families. I recently did a project using zoom and skype to connect seniors with their loved ones in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Recently, I was involved with The Social Innovators Program at UPenn, which is a program for high school students to have an opportunity to learn more about the entrepreneurial process and create their venture. I have been working on my project since September 2019. In my venture, I first interviewed my uncle, who is the Executive Director of an Assisted Living Facility in Alexandria, Virginia. The name of my project is The Ethel Project. Ethel is my grandmother, who lived in our house with us up until her last days. I helped take care of her when I was younger, and she became my best friend. In her young days, she was a very successful, hardworking, progressive woman of her time. Ethel, my grandmother, had multiple myeloma cancer, a feeding tube, dementia, and was a very sick lady. There were times when she was in the hospital, and she was so ill that the only way I could talk to her was on my iPad. This project has been very close to my heart during and since. Seniors are lonely, and now more than ever, and at this time, what I am doing is relevant. Over the past three months, I tested The Ethel Project in a local assisted living facility. I introduced the seniors to my project and what I would like to happen with it in the future, and they were all extremely excited to learn more about my project. My project includes detailed teaching the staff and the seniors how to use Skype and Zoom to see their family members quickly and often. We tested this phase too. After several visits to the facility, I tested The Ethel Project. I met many residents that enjoyed the opportunity to skype and zoom with family members. I purchased several iPads, in which I spent my own money that I earned while working for Mrs. Simpson's dance class, teaching the younger children ballroom dancing. I coordinated with the staff in arranging times that residents can call their family. People loved this. Along the way, we shared many memories, and I got to know these outstanding people. I documented one unique resident's life with her on video. My test launch was incredible, and I am still talking with residents. I am confident that this is extremely beneficial to the senior community and their loved ones. During these uncertain times with the coronavirus, retirement communities are on lockdown. No one is allowed in or out of the buildings. This lockdown means that seniors are isolated and unable to see their loved ones. I believe that my project is perfect for this exact situation, and it will bring a little happiness to these seniors' lives while they are alone. I am working on getting donations of iPads and cash to purchase iPads for my project so all facilities can enjoy the same connection that these residents have. I have received many emails thanking me for my work. Please help me through your donations to serve more communities. So many of these amazing people do not have anyone to visit, whether by zoom or in person. We will eventually be able to have in-person visits; for now, we will use Zoom. I set up all iPad and technology. It is my goal to have an iPad for every senior personalized for them. Each iPad will have a slideshow of the resident. I will be unveiling my program for the collection of the iPads so we can distribute it to the seniors. Updates and more to follow! Stay tuned!