Montereau’s residents are learning some new skills from local high school students. Once a week for 5 weeks, Montereau’s residents pack up their tech gear – smart phones, laptops, tablets – and travel to Holland Hall to meet with their youth mentors and learn how to better use that technology.
The youth mentors assist the residents with using their smart phones, computers, social media and anything else the resident wants to learn. It is a one-on-one tutoring session so the lessons are individualized for each resident. During the first session, the residents set goals with their mentors and then dove in to the tutoring process.
The Holland Hall program is part of a national campaign that started as an idea for a high school project by two sisters in 2009. The sisters saw how learning to use the internet had a huge impact on their grandparents’ lives. That first program inspired a documentary, “Cyber-Seniors”, and has grown to other cities and states throughout the country. The goal is to bridge the technology gap and help older adults expand their social and physical worlds.
One of Montereau’s residents participating in the program, Barbara Meyer, wasn’t too sure at first. She realized after the first session that she didn’t need as much help with her iPhone as she thought. For the next session, she brought her laptop and says that made a world of difference. “I’m learning so many new things to do with my computer”, Barbara said, “and the girl teaching me is so sweet.”
The first round of tutoring sessions ends later this month with a pizza party to thank the youth mentors for all of their help. We are currently working to start another again after the first of the new year.
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