Seniors who are social distancing to stay healthy during the pandemic are now gaining much-needed companionship, thanks to the Dreamweaver Foundation which has provided ultra-loud, easy-to-use devices that connect them directly to loved ones using Facebook Portals. Most seniors who received a Portal were connected to loved ones with a clear picture and sound for the first time in months and the grateful reactions have ranged from “tears of joy” to an overwhelming sense of relief.
Founded in 2012, the eight-year-old nonprofit organization usually grants wishes to seniors with chronic or terminal illnesses, like hot-air balloon rides or race car driving. “We still wanted to serve seniors in a special way” said Cheri Mastny, Dreamweaver Foundation executive director. “Many families had been resorting to window visits or calls on smartphones which can be both expensive and difficult for seniors to operate.”
Staying connected has been difficult for everyone during the pandemic, but especially for seniors. The Dreamweaver Foundation’s donations are changing that for hundreds of seniors in the greater Omaha area. “It looks like an 8×10 picture frame,” Mastny said. “The apps come on it and they are super large, so it is very easy to touch, easy to use. It has a big speaker-subwoofer in the back, so the sound that is produced from the Facebook portal makes it easy for someone that is hard of hearing.”
With a Portal, the buttons are super large, so it’s very easy to touch and use. It has a big subwoofer speaker in the back, so the sound is much better for someone who is hard of hearing. Calls can be made seamlessly to and from smartphones and tablets. Staff and families have continued to see the positive impact on seniors that have received Portals. The portals are giving seniors back their independence and family time.
Since seniors began using them, Dreamweaver has been overwhelmed with requests for more, so they launched a fundraising campaign to purchase more of the Portals. The CONNECTING HOPE CAMPAIGN hopes to continue to spread joy to seniors. They are trying to make Portals possible for seniors and their families to create shared memories, despite the distance. Each Portal is $179 and is purchased through donations.
There are other ways to help by making lower donations which help the “Dream Team” deliver tubs full of fun to care facilities during the pandemic. Playing cards, coloring books, crayons, nail polish, building blocks, board games and more have been delivered throughout the pandemic. The organization is also asking for volunteers who can send postcards, make phone calls and letters of love to seniors.
Their mission is made possible with the help and dedication of Dreamweaver Volunteers and they are always looking for more volunteers. You can make a dream come true and enrich the life of a senior in our community simply by giving of your time. Opportunities to volunteer may include being a Greeter, Personal Shopper, Fundraiser, or Dream Maker. The Dreamweaver organization trains all volunteers to provide the best experience possible. Due to their work involving seniors and sensitive information, they require all potential volunteers to complete orientation and training as well as pass a background check.