17-Year-Old Tucson Student Varadha Taggarse Offers a Karaoke Style, Sing-Along Class to Unite Seniors During a Time of Separation
(TUCSON, Ariz.) As confirmed cases of Covid-19 are on the rise in Arizona, and seniors are needed to socially isolate for their health, Arizona start-up televëda is uniting generations with their online community that allows seniors to find friendships, stay active, and combat loneliness.
17-year-old Varadha Taggarse is leading the charge with her karaoke-style, sing-along class. Taggarse is a senior at Basis Oro Valley and has dedicated her time to unite seniors. She started her work with seniors in middle school where she would go to nursing homes and perform for the seniors.
When Covid-19 hit, she was devastated that seniors would lose a lot of their social interactions and decided to combine her love for music with televëda’s platform and find a mechanism to unite seniors while their community is in turmoil.
“There was one man that would always come to class early, just to talk. He would tell me stories about his life and his struggles with the community being closed and how he couldn’t do anything. He was sad but the moment class would start, a huge smile always came on his face and I could see his whole demeanor lighten. I love doing this because I can help these seniors have a moment of happiness,” said Taggarse.
Once a week, the Tucson high school student hosts a sing-a-long class for seniors to enjoy music from throughout the decades. She takes recommendations for songs they want to sing, then she records the music in GarageBand, creates a lyric screen, and connects seniors through a shared love of music.
In the beginning, Taggarse experienced some challenges and had to overcome a big learning curve to bring her music offering to life. After a month of test trials and help from televëda, Taggarse succeeded in bringing seniors a musical virtual experience so they could enjoy themselves.
“Another member that I love working has been dealing with Alzheimer’s, and for her it was a special moment when she was able to remember and sing-along with songs from her childhood and teenage years. She always tells me stories about how certain songs would bring up memories for her. It was amazing to hear this from her and makes me feel good knowing we are bringing joy through this virtual offering,” she said.
Taggarse’s class is not the only community-building service that televëda offers through its online service. Adults 65 and up from across the country can foster friendships, and gather a sense of community through virtual Bingo, tai chi, chair yoga, tap dancing lessons, nutrition education, art and watercolor workshops, sculpting, and book clubs.
“Varadha’s story is truly inspiring,” said Shruti Gurudanti, CEO and Co-Founder of televëda. “A young woman, in the midst of high school, has given up a portion of her free time to be part our mission in connecting our seniors a vulnerable community with so many fun and entertaining options during the Coronavirus pandemic.”
Those interested in signing up a loved one can visit www.televeda.com and sign up for a two-week free trial until January 2021. Members joining and participating before January 2021 are also being offered a gift card to ring in the holiday spirit.
televëda is also providing free community resources during COVID-19. Visit www.televeda.com for more information or call 833-299-1449 (Toll Free).