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Tips & Advice

Greenwich High School's Teens Teach Tech Program

Today, I cannot imagine life without technology. I check my iPhone every hour to respond to emails, frequently work on school projects through Skype, and coordinate extracurricular projects through Facebook groups. Unfortunately, far too many senior citizens have never received the necessary education to experience the myriad benefits of technology.

This year, I strived to change that through my Teens Teach Tech project. I applied for a Teens Teach Tech grant as the Vice President of Student Concerns in my high school’s Student Government. In our grant proposal, my Student Government colleagues and myself created the blueprint for a technology program that would target elderly citizens at our local senior center: Greenwich Adult Day Care.

We knew many of the seniors with whom we would work had never before used a digital device. For this reason, we planned a series of workshops through which Student Government volunteers would work one-on-one with seniors on handheld devices, such as iPads. These volunteers would capture the seniors’ interest in technology by teaching them to play fun brain games, and then move on to more advanced skills. For example, the final two Teens Teach Tech workshops I led revolved around teaching the seniors to send emails.

Within the workshops we implemented, volunteers truly enjoyed engaging the senior citizens through brain games such as Unblock Me and Rosetta Stone’s Fit Brains Trainer. Almost all the seniors with whom we worked developed a keen interest in using digital devices. During one of our last workshops, I felt deeply fulfilled to witness two seniors – who were utterly unfamiliar with computers before the program started - carrying on a rapid-fire email conversation.

I am grateful to VolunTEEN Nation and AARP Mentor Up for allowing me the opportunity to increase access to technology for senior citizens in my community.