For Immediate Release
Lisa Razza, Director of Communications
Pittsburgh, PA (May 5, 2020) - Over 70 recipients of Achieva home and community services have received a Samsung Tablet, courtesy of the Cecil and David Rosenthal Memorial Fund (Rosenthal Fund) to provide a creative outlet and way to stay in contact with family and friends while travel, outside activities, and visitors have been restricted due to COVID-19.
Joy and Elie Rosenthal, Cecil and David’s parents, are heartened by the opportunity to touch so many people through the use of the fund. “We’re very proud. These tablets offer a way to talk, engage, and learn. If Cecil and David were here, they would have loved this opportunity,” Joy and Elie said. “David would have been anxious to go out, and Cecil would have been worried about everyone else. We know these are difficult times. These gifts help the recipients to make it through,” Joy and Elie continued.
View Photos and VideoIn addition to Pennsylavia’s stay-at-home order, disability service providers like Achieva have instituted temporary “no visitor” policies to some residential services to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus to vulnerable populations. The tablets offer a means to entertain and engage with people outside the home during this period of social distancing. Tablet recipients now have the opportunity to connect with friends and loved ones via remote video chats. Also, recipients are participating in online events such as concerts, yoga classes, and religious gatherings. Online games are another popular choice of users whose devices are customized with the apps that match their interests.
The Rosenthal Fund was created following the tragedy on October 27th, 2018 at Tree of Life Synagogue. More than $200,000 in donations were made to Achieva in memory of David and Cecil Rosenthal, two victims who had benefited from Achieva services for decades. The Rosenthal Fund supports community engagement activities pursued by people with intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD). In keeping with the way the public embraced and included Cecil and David in various facets of daily life, the Rosenthal Fund awards grants to help other people with I/DD live a life of personal significance.
The Rosenthal Fund is not limited to Achieva service recipients. Achieva encourages others to apply for the funds through its easy online application process. Rosenthal Fund resources may be used for items, programs and/or supports to assist people with I/DD. Funds may also be awarded for direct support professionals (DSP) if it directly helps people with I/DD with person-centered residential support, competitive-integrated employment, or meaningful community participation.
Future fundraising efforts by Achieva will help to maintain and grow the Rosenthal Fund so the legacy of Cecil and David Rosenthal will live on through the financial help provided to other people with disabilities. Donations to the Rosenthal Fund can be made via Achieva’s website. To contribute, visit www.achieva.info/donate and choose "Cecil and David Rosenthal Memorial Fund" in the program menu.
Diane Rosenthal, sister of Cecil and David Rosenthal, was overjoyed to connect via Zoom with Irene, one of the tablet recipients. The two hope to continue conversing via video.
Irene's mother, Kathy, was also thrilled to communicate with her daughter. “Although we talk several times a day, the tablet makes it feel as if we are together - even though we’re apart. I know she’s in great hands with her staff, but with Irene now having the tablet, I can see her face and see how she is! Seeing Irene means the world to me! So thank you so very much to the Rosenthal Family for giving us this opportunity to see each other every day, even though we are quarantined. Thank you!
Achieva is a non-profit organization located in southwestern Pennsylvania providing lifelong supports to people with disabilities and their families. Achieva envisions a community where all people with disabilities lead lives of personal significance. Our services range from early intervention therapies and employment supports to special needs trusts and supports in the home and community. Achieva advocates for, empowers, and supports people with disabilities and their families throughout their lives.