Unable to take the field, Jerusalem Soccer players from the Beitar Millenium Jerusalem Football Club have opted to teach the elderly how to take on the digital field. As part of a volunteer program, players and their fans were invited to fill a need, supporting the elderly in isolation learn how to use various online programs in order to communicate, connect, and hopefully, feel less lonely.
With about 100 volunteers, the project named “Sympathy for Older Persons” trained players in groups of 50, in collaboration with the JDC-Eshel organization, the National Digital Israel Initiative, and the Jerusalem Municipality. The trainees were then able to offer phone support to elderly in need, whether they needed to learn how to communicate through WhatsApp, order groceries online, or operate Zoom.
Both fans and players have the chance to support, each agreeing to commit to at least one month within the program. Especially during isolation, there was a large gap to fill in helping the elderly feel connected during quarantine, and the volunteer support will continue so long as the elderly are in need.