If the coronavirus outbreak serves to remind us of anything, it’s how important it is to check up on our neighbors.
While most Americans are self-isolating to slow the spread of the pandemic, the elderly are at an even greater risk. People over age 70 are staying home, and neighbors everywhere are tasked with keeping a close eye on them. The Tien family of Clintonville, Ohio, are doing just that.
Rebecca Tien is at home with her two young kids, 9-year-old Taran and 6-year-old Calliope. The family is friendly with Helena Schlam, a 78-year-old neighbor who lives across the street. Rebecca has been staying in contact with Helena, whose daughter insists that she self-quarantine out of caution.
Rebecca called Helena one day to see if she needed any groceries. Helena insisted she was set on food, but Rebecca still felt there had to be something they could do to comfort their friend. She asked her children, who both take private cello lessons, what they’d like to do to help Helena.
The kids didn’t hesitate in their response. Knowing that Helena is also a big music lover, Taran and Caliope asked if they could bring their instruments to Helena’s house to play for her. Rebecca quickly devised a plan to keep everyone safe: Helena would sit on one side of her large front porch, and the kids would play on the other side.
As an added benefit, they held their private concert at noon so that Helena’s grandchildren, who live in Israel, could also listen in!
Helena was delighted to have a break from her isolation! She watched happily as the kids played for over half an hour, working their way through Suzuki Book 1 and part of of Suzuki Book 2.
“It was so delightful,” Helena said later. “It was a little cold but I just put on an extra coat. The kids are really quite talented and it was so much fun.”
Rebecca was incredibly proud of her kids for using their talent to brighten Helena’s day. “Obviously I am proud of my kids for doing something kind and I’m glad for them to have that experience and get out and do something exciting in these strange times,” she said. “But it also is important because it shows we can still have connections right now. I needed that reminder, too.”
“I haven’t been out of my house for five days, and I won’t be out anytime soon,” Helena added. “This was a delightful break for all of us. I love all the kids and I love music. It was such a real gift.”
This is exactly what we need to see right now! These kids did what we should all be doing — they found a way to use their unique talents and skills to bring some sunshine into a lonely neighbor’s life. There’s no better way to let people know we’re here for them!
You can watch a snippet of the kids’ concert in the video below, and be sure to share.
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