New initiative brings artists, musicians to special needs children

Artists and musicians donate their time for these interactive performances, which include music, storytelling, and magic and animal shows.

Musician Nitzan Roitman is one of the artists who performed in on the Artists TakeAction platform (photo credit: COURTESY OF NITZAN ROITMAN)
Musician Nitzan Roitman is one of the artists who performed in on the Artists TakeAction platform
A new initiative from the Jerusalem College of Technology (JCT) works to bring artists and musicians to the homes of disabled and at-risk children during the coronavirus crisis.
The coronavirus outbreak has forced millions of Israelis to stay home, leaving many sectors of the population – such as children with disabilities and at-risk youth – without access to interactive cognitive therapy.
As a result, JCT – as part of their TakeAction program in partnership with their LevTech Entrepreneurship Center and website-building company Wix – have launched a new online platform called Artists TakeAction. This allows musicians and artists to perform virtual shows and interact with the audience.
Performers donate their time for these interactive shows, which include music, storytelling, magic and animal shows. They are also allowed to publicize any other scheduled live virtual events on the site.
“Even weeks into this new reality of staying at home, we are all still working to adapt and create new ways to maintain good physical, emotional, and mental well-being, especially for vulnerable populations,” Orlee Guttman, JCT’s director of strategic Partnerships and co-founder of LevTech, said in a statement.
“With Artists TakeAction, we created the platform to bring interactive stimulation into the homes of those who need it. The response has been incredible thus far from parents, children and youth who rely on this type of interaction in their day-to-day lives. Wix has been an amazing partner with us through this and we are thrilled to be providing such an important service for so many.”
Over the past pilot week, some of the platform's events included concerts from musicians Mishael Dee, Nitzan Roitman, Shim Craimer and Nachman Solomon; a storytelling show with children's author Debbie Herman; a live show with Eli Balams' Animal Kingdom; and a performance by magician and mentalist Assaf Salomon.
In addition, a number of other organizations in Israel have partnered with the Aritsts TakeAction initiative. These include the Shalva organization, which works with individuals with disabilities; Zicron Menachem, an organization that tries to provide aid to those suffering from cancer; and Kav L'Noar, which supports at-risk youth.
Many other musicians and artists are transitioning to virtual performances during the coronavirus outbreak, some even doing it for free. This included a live performance by Israeli musician Idan Raichel, who livestreamed a free performance in March.
The TakeAction program is a wider-range program created in response to the coronavirus outbreak. It utilizes JCT's students, graduates and faculty to create new technological solutions for emerging emergency relief and social service needs. Specifically, it provides solutions and products for emergency services and nonprofits who normally help people but have been forced to limit contact due to the outbreak. This includes organizations and services that service the elderly, the disabled, people in need of food and medicine as well as any demographic with existing vulnerabilities that have worsened due to self-isolation.