Getting my Feet Wet
When I first walked into the room at Cedar Village where the training was to take place, I was not sure what to make of it. A few of my fellow employees were already engaged with elderly residents. Diane Slovin, director of community outreach, approached me and pointed out an elderly man without a volunteer. As a new hire at AfidenceIT, this was my first experience with the Cyber-Seniors program. This was AfidenceIT’s second event of the program. The first one took place in early May.
The Cyber-Seniors documentary inspired this program. Two teenage girls started this program (which led to the documentary) dedicated to bridging the gap between older adults and technology. AfidenceIT saw this as an incredible way to give back to the community.
The man whom Diane pointed out to me was Bernie. We hit it off right away. He had a great sense of humor and told me about his family. We laughed and I told him a little bit about me. Then, it was time to start working with the Chromebook.
First, I helped Bernie log in to his email and organize his inbox on the laptop.
Next, we went to work on Bernie’s iPad. Bernie wanted to learn more about the different apps on his device. We started with Pandora. When I opened the app, we discovered we listened to some of the same artists (Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole to name a couple)!
After Pandora, we moved into other apps, and I taught Bernie a little bit about each one. Finally, I helped Bernie upload a profile picture to Facebook and understand the basics of the social media platform. He laughed for at least five minutes at a video of a horse kicking an irritable man. He even sent out some friend requests! Lastly, we uploaded a cover photo of Bernie’s family to his Facebook. He was proud of that picture and the joy it gave him was obvious.
The Little Things
Often, when we enter situations where we are the teacher, we forget that these are some of the greatest learning opportunities. It is important to remember that every person has something they can teach you.
For instance, Bernie taught me that life does not have to be boring as you get older. This man was going to visit a friend in California by himself! He asked questions throughout our time together and asked about things I had never thought about. His perspective on things encouraged me to view things from different positions. I can only hope he learned as much from me as I did from him.
Cyber-Seniors is a great event, though, for more than what it teaches us. It is a great event because it brings people of different walks of life and ages together. It connects professionals with residents of Cedar Village as they learn skills that can connect them to loved ones and the outside world. It’s these little things that matter the most. Things like the laughter between my fellow employees and Cedar Village residents as they interacted. Things like when a resident adds their grand-daughter as a friend on Facebook or skypes their family. These are the moments that make the difference. The relationship building and these moments are what make this program unique and essential.
AfidenceIT helps over 24 ministries and nonprofit organizations in the local community. We impact thousands of lives and are impacted by the individuals that we encounter by partnering with these organizations. My colleagues are dedicated to making a difference. They go above and beyond job descriptions to impact the community and the people in it.
Marketing Assistant | AfidenceIT