Spread Joy One Card at a Time – Daily Local

Spread the joy with cards. (PHOTO SUBMITTED)

My father was a math teacher and therefore I like to play with numbers.

Two hundred thousand people would fill a sold-out Spectrum for a Flyers game more than 11 times.

Can you imagine all these people opening and reading a handwritten map?

Hita Gupta, 16, and some of the cards she sends to the elderly. (PHOTO SUBMITTED)

You don’t have to imagine it since Hita Gupta, 16, senior at Conestoga High School, launched a campaign to deliver hundreds of thousands of cards to the isolated elderly in nursing homes, the sick in hospitals and frontline workers.

Surprisingly, thousands of cards have been distributed in all 50 states and 40 countries.

I am inspired. What did I accomplish with all this “extra” time on my hands?

Sixteen-year-old card delivery man, Hita Gupta. (PHOTO SUBMITTED)

Gupta created and runs Brighten A Day, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization. She couldn’t even tell me exactly how many volunteers she oversees and inspired, although she estimated tens of thousands helped.

“The goal of my non-profit organization is to alleviate the burden of isolating seniors who are unable to see their loved ones in person during the pandemic, as well as to forge strong bonds between the generations. , by leveraging the power of technology, ”Gupta said. “In this time of fear and isolation, Brighten A Day offers older people compassion and empathy because staying social is essential to reducing the risk of depression and staying healthy mentally and physically.

“Ultimately, we would like to reduce the generational gap, enable volunteers to gain wisdom, provide support to our seniors, help them stay mentally (and therefore physically) and build a virtual intergenerational community.

Hita Gupta, 16, with hundreds of thousands of cards. Many are aimed at seniors. (PHOTO SUBMITTED)

“It is extremely important to fight against social isolation, an epidemic that existed before COVID-19, but which has worsened due to the pandemic and will persist. “

Wow! Of course, that doesn’t sound like the typical teenager.

Gupta hears that many recipients cry after reading a card.

“They are grateful and very touched that someone thinks of them, especially during what has been a difficult year for them,” she said. “During the pandemic, there were not many visitors to nursing homes and retirement homes.”

Gupta is looking for volunteers from universities, service groups, libraries, businesses and Boy Scout troops.

The cards were sent to Regency Park Long Term Care Home in Canada.

“Thank you very much for the lovely Christmas cards,” read a note back from the nursing home. “Our residents loved them.

“This year has been very different for all of us which has made these cards very special for our residents. “

Technology connects seniors with their families and volunteers. Retiree communities often hosting only one screen receive tablets collected by Brighten A Day.

Volunteers chat with seniors and are matched up based on common interests, hobbies and language. Yes, the program even welcomes bilingual volunteers.

And these virtual volunteers create intergenerational bonds.

“It is not only beneficial for the elderly, but very enjoyable for the volunteers, as they learn from someone with so many life experiences and can share a lot of their wisdom,” she said. declared.

A volunteer spoke about talking with older people.

“I formed a special bond with my participant,” said volunteer Irene. “She says she looks forward to my calls and considers them a special part of her day.

“We talk about many different topics on our calls. From how each of us is feeling, how our day is going to nutrition and politics.

“I can’t wait to have him in my life for years to come.”

The volunteers also produce short video messages, while singing, playing an instrument or telling jokes.

“It’s one way of seeing a friendly face that just cares,” Gupta said.

Firefighters in Dixie, California are also receiving cards as part of an ongoing project.

“We wanted to show our gratitude,” said the student who wants to major in computer science or public policy at the university. “They put their lives on the line to keep everyone else safe. “

Police officers, local firefighters, doctors and other frontline workers also receive notes.

Gupta is inspired and chats with her grandparents in India every day and is assisted by her 11 year old brother, Divit, who works hard for day to day activities.

Looks like the high school student is the CEO of a big company, while attending school.

I interviewed her last June and was amazed at the time, but now it’s hard to understand how a young person, with these volunteers, can give and accomplish so much.

Hita Gupta has made a difference for hundreds of thousands of people. Sky is the limit.

For more information, visit the Brighten A Day nonprofit website, www.brighten-a-day.org

One way to donate: https://brighten-a-day.org/donate

Bill Rettew is a weekly columnist and resident of Chester County. He probably didn’t accomplish anything 200,000 times. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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