South Bay teen helping seniors during shelter-in-place

A South Bay teenager saw how difficult the shelter in place order has been on his grandparents.

Kamran Zia,16, of Los Altos said it opened his eyes to the needs of older people during this difficult time.

He started Engaging with Elders, a project with a website to help them cope with loneliness and anxiety during the pandemic and beyond. 

On Friday, Kamran put together together activity kits that included games, arts and crafts, and other items  he plans to gift to nursing home residents.

"It's an opportunity for the people in my community around my age to connect with older generation," said Kamran. 

His grandparents who live in London are sheltering in place. He said helping them during their isolation inspired him to help others.

"They were super lonely," said Kamran. "I decided to send them a bunch of activities, sending them books, playing games online with them like chess or cards. It was a really easy way to interact and connect."

The junior at Mountain View High School said in 2 and a half  weeks, he's raised $2,400 to buy items to help older people combat loneliness.

Kamran is also working on getting tablets and downloading apps to give nursing home residents a way to interact with teens he's enlisted to help with his project.

They also plan to provide live and taped musical entertainment.

Alekhya Maram of Danville has signed up to help, using her love of music to connect with older folks.

"I felt the isolation myself. I can't imagine what it would be like for someone who's older," said Alekhya.

The 16-year-old said she has always turn to music during difficult times and wants to offer comfort with her gift.

"I hope that this song is able to bring them peace and happiness and take them to a time where they were feeling happy, full of joy and love," said Alekhya.

From music to the written word.

"Giving handmade letters to the elders," said Kamran as a way to let older people know they are not forgotten and that they are valued.

"They can teach us information through their experience, through their lives," said Kamran. 

He plans to start delivering the care packages to nursing home residents next week.

But the teenager hopes this is only the beginning of a lasting connection, that he and the other young people who're volunteering their time, will be able to build a relationship with those they help.

To help: Gofundme