Robbinsville teens create organization to help hospitalized children have virtual companionship

Two Robbinsville teens are using their time in quarantine to help others.

News 12 Staff

Aug 22, 2020, 2:25 AM

Updated 1,338 days ago

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Two Robbinsville teens are using their time in quarantine to help others.
Friends since the fifth grade, high school juniors Pooja Yerneni and Shweta Raman created an organization called “Interconnectd” which creates opportunities for hospitalized children to have virtual companionship during the pandemic. They say that they wanted to help the children who may be feeling isolated.
“Pooja and I both volunteer at the Children’s Specialized Hospital,” says Raman.
“We recognize how lonely it must feel to be in the hospital with limited restrictions of visiting hours in place,” says Yerneni.
They founded the organization in March. It connects the children with volunteers who will visit with them over Zoom.
“Some examples that we have are to watch a movie together, to do an arts and crafts project together,” says Yerneni.
They have volunteers from five countries and 14 states – 500 applications and they picked 65 volunteers.
Photos: The Heroes of the Coronavirus Pandemic
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“Ever the fact that people from like all over the world wanted to join is just amazing,” says Yerneni.
The teens recently held a book and board game fundraiser, donating some items to Capital Health and raising over $900 for the American Childhood Cancer Organization.
In a statement, Jamie Ennis Bloyd of the Cancer Organization says in part, "Especially in these unprecedented times, we are so grateful to have Shweta Raman and Pooja Yerneni and the Interconnectd organization's donation to ACCO."
The teens say that they hope to partner with hospitals and organizations in New Jersey to continue to raise funds and help support hospitalized children. They say that they hope to have the organization's first Zoom calls with patients set up by mid-September.
Anyone who wishes to apply to volunteer can do so at the organization’s website.


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