How 21-Year-Old Baruj Avram Designed a Support System for Elders without Family with non-profit Calls4Care

by Thomas Herd

In the last year, people all over the world have felt the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. For some, they have been separated from their families, for others, they have lost loved ones to the virus. As difficult as it’s been on humanity collectively, many people have sought uplifting, positive content despite the fact that headlines have remained bleak and discouraging. But for 21-year-old Panamanian Baruj Avram, after finding himself separated from his family and stranded in Miami at the height of the pandemic last March, he was left with a lot of time to reflect on what the impact of the pandemic had done to people all over the world.

After being forced to quarantine by himself, he frequently phoned home to his family to feel a sense of solidarity despite their distance. Alone with his thoughts, he couldn’t help but wonder what it must be like to be a senior citizen stuck in an elderly home through the pandemic. He then thought about what it must be like for those in an elderly home who have no family at all. Following some research on this specific demographic, Avram learned that senior citizens who have no family are what you call “elder orphans.” Furthermore, he was even more surprised and saddened to learn that a whopping 35% of elders in nursing homes have zero visitors from the time they check in to the time they die.

Disturbed and distressed by this information, Avram set out to see what he could do to offer some kind of human connection to these elder orphans. Just six months later, he launched a non-profit organization called Calls4Care in which he partnered up with Steven Natalie and Daniel Manocherian.  And Designed as a platform where volunteers are connected to elder orphans, Calls4Care has been a life changing program that has offered hope, connection and humanity to elder orphans and even to those volunteering. Though the pandemic inhibited many from even leaving their house, one thing it did was grant people a lot of spare time. With this newfound time, Avram has helped more than 2000 people connect with elder orphans over the course of the pandemic.

“I’m from Panama and Panama was completely locked down,” he says. “I was forced to quarantine by myself for eight months and after a few months went by, I spent my birthday alone and I just felt so lonely. I wanted to connect with people who were going through the same thing. Then I discovered elder orphans and knew I had to help.”

By undergoing a simple interview process where Calls4Care identifies your interests, skills and life experience, the platform connects volunteers with the best matches possible. Despite the fact that the pandemic has undoubtedly induced great sorrow, out of this sorrow, a young 21-year-old foreigner saw an opportunity to bring humanity together. To learn more about Calls4Care, visit their website.

Presented by: T1

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