St. Ann Center helps alleviate social isolation safely

It’s been said that absence makes the heart grow fonder… 

It's clear the author never set foot inside St. Ann Center. The Milwaukee campus provides intergenerational care, connecting people of all ages and abilities.  

"That’s what everybody needs," Sister Edna Lonergan said. "We need a reason to get out of bed every morning, no matter how old we are or young we are. I think St. Ann’s gives you that purpose and opportunity."

Sister Edna Lonergan 

A mission of even more importance to Sister Edna.

"I think 'challenge' is an understatement," she said. "Social isolation is just a big, ugly, awful part of this disease."

When the pandemic forced us apart, she thought outside the box — and built her own. 

A plexiglass barrier to protect health, that’s invisible to the heart. 

"You finally got to catch up with that missing friend, that missing link you always wanted to know," 9-year-old Juelz Peterson said.

Music and art help to provide a little pre-pandemic normalcy. 

"Yeah, I like it very much," Peterson said.

But it’s the reunions of familiar conversations — and faces — that really bring you back.  

"You don’t even know the people here at first and all the sudden they are your best friend," James Yocum said.

Safely separated, where hearts still feel at home.  

"It’s why it’s so happy," Sister Edna said.

The plexiglass is one of many coronavirus precautions in place. St. Ann staff and clients wear masks and are also screened for COVID-19 before they enter the building.

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