Our Learning Center, located at the JCC on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, has introduced an intergenerational program of computer workshops pairing a senior and a teen. The program is a collaboration between SeniorNet and the JCC's Teen/Tween Department.
The workshops are scheduled one Sunday a month for 90 minutes and have a specific topic. So far we have had sessions on Phones, Mac computers, and Facebook. Our objective is to have the teens work one-to-one on the day's topic with the seniors and to answer any questions that they may have.
We held a training session for the teens prior to the start of the program in which we discussed their experience working with older adults and the qualities that make for an effective teacher. The teens were given a handout, "10 Tips for Teaching Older Adults", and participated in a simulated teaching situation.
Each workshop is supervised by SeniorNet volunteers and the JCC Teen/Tween staff. We work closely with the Teen/Tween staff to assure that the one-to-one ratio is maintained. In the event that a teen is unable to attend, the SeniorNet volunteer fills in as an instructor. If a senior participant is absent, the SeniorNet volunteer becomes the student with the teen as the instructor.
Feedback from both seniors and teens has been very positive. The teens enjoy sharing what they know and gain from the social interaction. From our seniors:
I was very satisfied with the help I received from Tatiana. She was very bright, as well as knowledgeable about the particular device I am using (Samsung Galaxy). She was very patient, answered all my questions, and voluntarily wrote out instructions for one particular procedure. I would give her an A+ as an instructor.
I was paired with a nice young gentleman (I believe his name was A-J...) He was patient with me, and helped me to solve a couple of problems I had such as deleting superfluous addresses from my Main contact list, how to deal with sending attachments, etc. I wish to come to such problem solving sessions more often. Keep up the good work! Thanks again.
Manhattan JCC SeniorNet Coordinator