In New Buffalo, Michigan, a group of 19 senior citizens began the process of becoming acquainted with the world of portable technology on Monday, March 21, at the New Buffalo Township Library. Library Director Julie Grynwich said the Teen Tech Tutor Program is a collaborative effort between Harbor Country Communities for a Lifetime (HCCFL) and the Library.
Funding for the 20 iPad Minis distributed Monday came from a “Fudge-Raiser” sale by Chef Jackie Shen of Jackie’s Café, a matching grant from The Upton Foundation, a donation from the Larry Bubb Endowment, and other contributions.
Grynwich said the program has given 20 local seniors the opportunity to “own a little piece of technology.” But that’s just the beginning. “The cool thing about this program is that we give you an opportunity to work with some of the young people in our community,” Grynwich said.
Once Hillary Bubb, co-chair of the Harbor Country Communities for a Lifetime board, had handed out the iPads (19 of the 20 people chosen via a random drawing from those who applied and were able to attend), 10 members of the library’s Teen Advisory Group fanned out in the Pokagon Room to help everyone get off to a good start.
The Library’s Youth Services Coordinator, Susan Schab introduced a group of participating teens slated to participate in the initial orientation tutoring session after noting that, familiarity with technology “is like breathing air to them” — Maria Baughman, Nina Gropp, Sydney Moore, Zeke Bennett, Megan Wilkinson, Oliver McNeil, Destiny Mitchell, Liz Ramsey, Jack Gessler and Jesse Arp.
Schab said the program also provides a chance for teen-agers and seniors to interact.
“We’re very happy that so many teens have stepped up to do this.” She later said that there are more than 40 youths in the Teen Advisory Group at the library.
Further tutoring sessions are scheduled for Mondays at 5:30 p.m., with those unable to make that date and time asked to set other schedules with the teenage volunteers.
Grynwich also said that area senior citizens with their own devices who have signed up also will receive training this spring through the end of May. The program will not take place during the summer, but may return in some form next fall.
New Buffalo High School junior Liz Ramsey, who helped George Smith learn to begin using his new iPad Mini during the session, said she enjoyed helping people she sees in the community learn something new. “He got it pretty quickly,” she said of her student.
Jack Gessler, a seventh-grader at New Buffalo Middle School, said the people he worked with were very nice and learned quickly. “They actually were pretty good at using them already,” he noted.
Jackie Selir said she enjoyed her first exposure to the iPad (her tutor was Nina Gropp), although she still has to get it to accept her email address.
Elbert Chase of New Buffalo (his teen tutor was Megan Wilkinson) said he was quite impressed by the iPad mini. “It’s just amazing how many things you can do.”
The HCCFL organization’s mission is “to create a vibrant, healthy Harbor Country for growing up and growing older.”
The Board of Birectors includes:
- Bubb, as co-chair and at-large member from New Buffalo;
- Tom Hackley, co-chair and at-large member from Chikaming Township;
- Secretary Adam Umbrasas, municipal representative on behalf of New Buffalo Township, Three Oaks Village and Township and Chikaming Township;
- Treasurer Rich Kochanny, Harbor Country Chamber of Commerce;
- Tim Hawkins, River Valley Senior Center;
- Christine Vanlandingham, Region IV Area Agency on Aging;
- Kim Gallagher, Southwest Michigan Planning Commission;
- Nikki Britton, Berrien County Health Department, and Joanne Sims, Friends of Harbor Country Trails.
Another effort involves plans to establish an affordable senior housing project to be built by the New Buffalo Area Schools’ building trades program in conjunction with HCCFL and a local property owner.
Read Article (David Johnson | harborcountry-news.com| 03/23/2016)
There is a need to assist people who want to learn how to use these devices of technology, as demonstrated by these and many other students across the country doing what they can. These outstanding students recognize the fact that technology has left these individuals behind and has made little-to-no-effort to assist their learning.
The plight of these millions in this situation is really no secret, it’s just not an issue that commands much media attention. But it has our attention and it is what our service is designed to address. Unfortunately, because we choose to address this issue and have very limited funds, we also don’t command media attention.
So we reach-out through postings such as this. Please help us help them with your support.
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