News Story

Spreading Light Through Community Connections During COVID-19

Amidst the chaos and distress accompanying the spread of COVID-19, Elizabeth Rode-Bramanis, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints residing in Knox City, Victoria, has been busy spreading light and love.

Elizabeth Rode-Bramanis writing a letter to a "pen pal" to bless during COVID
Pen Pal program creator, Elizabeth Rode-Bramanis, cheers seniors through her letters2020 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Elizabeth serves as a volunteer for “Bridges Connecting Communities,” a non-profit organisation that serves disabled Knox City residents over the age of 55 and retired Knox City residents over the age of 65.

Shortly after the pandemic began, many of the organisation’s services were no longer provided. As a result, Elizabeth was asked to create an innovative pen pal program aimed to connect volunteers with one of Knox City’s most vulnerable and isolated populations during the pandemic.

Through the program, volunteers are matched with 1-4 participating seniors with whom they exchange letters via email or traditional post. This allows them to form and maintain relationships despite being physically distanced from those they love.

“They can hold onto the letter and when things are bad, they can look back on them,” says Elizabeth. “I have an amazing pen pal who is in her 80’s and she has shared her amazing life with me over this period of writing to each other. We exchange letters about every three weeks and receiving this letter really elevates my spirit.

"To know that I am also positively affecting someone in return is a wonderful thought.”

One letter recipient wrote, “I got this amazing letter. We’ve formed this fabulous relationship that I hope can continue after COVID-19.”

Because of her efforts, Elizabeth received the “Knox City Council Influential Person During COVID” recognition.

Elizabeth claims, “kindness always” is her personal motto. “Kindness is the trait that the Saviour, Jesus Christ, exemplified during his earthly life,” she explains. “Everything positive comes from it. I have been blessed to have the opportunity to show kindness during a time of great uncertainty.”

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