Technology Grant Enables River Garden to Reach Residents More Effectively

River Garden Hebrew Home for the Aged in Jacksonville, FL, recently received a grant to update its communications systems during the pandemic.

In the summer 2020, River Garden realized a need to upgrade its technology to bring the outside world to residents. The goal was to establish an agile technical platform that could be managed on-site – something that would open virtual windows and doors to residents isolated in their rooms.

River Garden is a 180-bed not-for-profit mission-driven agency serving the Northeast Florida Jewish community for 75 years. With support from the Jewish community and the Jewish Federation and Foundation of Northeast Florida, the agency has been fortunate to offer residents opportunities to celebrate their heritage and live Jewishly throughout the pandemic.

“We applied to the Jewish Federation & Foundation of Northeast Florida for a grant of $4,000 to assist us in purchasing equipment to replace an outdated resident TV channel; we also purchased a video camera. Using services from Caremerge and Screencloud, we are able to manage activities and TV content in real-time, directly from our desktops,” explains Kari Bell, director of communications & marketing.

“We’re still learning a lot about the possibilities but are pleased that we’ve been able to broadcast Shabbat services, messages from staff and families and special events.  I can’t imagine where we would have been without it these last months,” she said.

Last month, Leslie Held and Laura Platzer from the Jewish Life department performed a Passover play that was also recorded, set up with captioning, and put on the internal TV channel for everyone to view.  “It’s wonderful to know that every resident can enjoy the Passover story from the auditorium, the clubrooms or their room,” said Bell. “The River Garden TV channel has enabled us to enrich the lives of our residents through combining creativity and technology.”

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