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April 30, 2020 9:34 am

Initiative Brings Artists Into Homes of Those With Disabilities During COVID-19 Crisis

avatar by JNS.org

Nitzan Roitman performed for two shows for Shalva and Zichron Menachem. Photo: Courtesy of Nitzan Roitman.

JNS.org – In the new reality of self-isolation, certain populations like people with disabilities, children and youth-at-risk, who rely on interactive therapy for cognitive stimulation, are currently stuck at home with much less access.

In response, as part of its new TakeAction program and in partnership with website-building company Wix, the Jerusalem College of Technology’s (Machon Lev) LevTech Entrepreneurship Center has launched Artists TakeAction—an online platform for virtual shows where musicians and other artists interact live with audiences of all types.

As part of the new initiative, artists donate their time to do live interactive shows like music, storytelling, magic, animal shows and more to engage children, people with disabilities and the general public stuck at home during the coronavirus crisis. Artists who are already set to do live shows through other platforms are also invited to publicize their events on the site, so that, for example, a parent can see all the events listed in one place.

“Even weeks into this new reality of staying at home, we are all still working to adapt and create new ways to maintain good physical, emotional, and mental well-being, especially for vulnerable populations,” said Orlee Guttman, JCT’s director of strategic partnerships and co-founder of LevTech. “With Artists Take Action, we created the platform to bring interactive stimulation into the homes of those who need it. The response has been incredible thus far from parents, children and youth who rely on this type of interaction in their day-to-day lives.”

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Artists TakeAction has partnered with organizations such as Shalva, which works with individuals with disabilities, Zichron Menachem, which helps children and families with cancer, and Kav L’Noar, which provides support and guidance for at-risk youth.

Events on the platform in the pilot week have included concerts with musicians, such as Mishael Dee; Nitzan Roitman; Shim Craimer; Nachman Solomon; magician and mentalist Assaf Salomon; a live show with Eli Balams’ Animal Kingdom; and story time with acclaimed children’s author Debbie Herman.

Artists TakeAction is part of the larger TakeAction project, a program that leverages the talents of students, graduates and faculty to develop technological solutions for emerging needs in social-service and emergency relief due to COVID-19.

These software solutions and products will enable emergency services and non-profits to serve the people they normally help but with whom they now have limited contact, including the elderly, children with disabilities, the sick, people in need of food and medicine, and any population whose existing vulnerabilities are amplified during this era of self-isolation.

Apart from its new project, LevTech works throughout the year to apply the untapped potential of engineering and business students, in addition to JCT graduates from the Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox communities, to create innovative solutions to identified challenges in the medical and social sectors. Many of JCT’s students, including the approximately 40 percent who come from the ultra-Orthodox community, have not previously been exposed to cutting-edge technologies. Through LevTech, they are now spearheading innovation for the benefit of vulnerable populations.

To encourage more artists to donate their time, see: ArtistsTakeAction.org.il.

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