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Ashland - Local Town Pages

Ashland Teen Seeks Donations to Help Seniors Access Health Care

Sep 29, 2020 10:31AM ● By Chuck Tashjian

Ashland teen Helen Varughese is looking to save lives by improving access to healthcare for seniors. (Photo/supplied)

Ashland high senior Helen Varughese is driven by her love of volunteering, her goal of becoming a doctor, and the example her parents set to help others. This spring she found a new nonprofit she could get behind, TeleHealth Access for Seniors that “provides seniors and low-income communities with devices, instructions, and free tech-support to connect them to their physicians . . . using digital connectivity and wellness tools via apps.” (www.telehealthforseniors.org)

“Connecting with their physicians during this pandemic is an urgent need for senior citizens, so the more donations we get, the more lives we are saving,” Varughese said. She hopes residents who are reading this article will donate their old smart devices, such as iPads, iPhones, tablets, and Chromebooks. 

“TeleHealth started in March, right around the time that our school closed down because of the coronavirus, and I joined a couple of months later, at the end of May,” Varughese explained. “With school starting in the fall, I hope to introduce this nonprofit to my school community and collect donations or recruit volunteers.”

“I heard about TeleHealth back in May through a radio broadcast that the Massachusetts team lead of TeleHealth had put out. At this point, our whole world had come to a screeching halt due to the pandemic, and I had a lot of time on my hands. This initiative immediately piqued interest from my science-loving, doctor-y side and as an opportunity to rid me of some boredom that I was experiencing, so I jumped on it.After researching the organization and realizing that I loved the work they were doing, I emailed the admin member in charge of recruiting and started that week.”

“Working on the Massachusetts team, I have collected around 10 smart devices and $390 from my friends and family that will be used to buy chargers and new smart devices. Additionally, another volunteer and I collected devices and conducted a drop-off of around 20 smart devices to our last clinic, the Boston VA, Jamaica Plain Campus of VA Boston.”

“This fall my Massachusetts team, composed of myself and eight other students ranging from high school to college age, hopes to continue our efforts to collect monetary and smart device donations from individuals and also seek out more large-scale contributions and grants from businesses and banks from around the state.”


“This year I will be a senior at Ashland High School (AHS). My main focus at this stage in my life is my academics. Constantly being surrounded by a school environment, I naturally wanted to step up and take a bigger position in some of the areas that interested me, so I have taken many leadership positions in my school community. This year, some of my leadership positions include being treasurer of National Honor Society at AHS, being a part of the School Committee Advisory Council for the last and current school years, acting as co-founder of a public speaking club at AHS, and being co-president of the AHS Math Team.”

“Outside of school, along with being the secretary of my church’s youth group, I love to volunteer! Growing up, I watched as my parents led selfless lives, giving up so much for others, and I developed a passion for serving others as well. In the past I have volunteered at soup kitchens, food pantries, Habitat for Humanity Restore in Ashland, the Ashland Public Library, and the Ashland Farmers Market.”

“I aspire to become a doctor, so after I graduate high school, I hope to attend either a 7-8-year combined BS/MD program, which will ensure me a position in medical school right off the bat, or a traditional four-year undergraduate program on the pre-med track, most likely majoring in biology, biochemistry or other general science, and then continue onto medical school.”

“I am using my family’s charity website rather than the national organization’s GoFundMe. This way it is easier for the organization’s admin team to correctly allocate the funds I collect to buy devices for my team’s clinic, which is currently the Mattapan Community Health Center in Boston.”

To donate devices, contact her at [email protected] To donate funds, visit her family’s charity website, Compassionate Hearts Network, https://bit.ly/35tDicT