The Teens Teach program is a new initiative that will seek teens as volunteers to work with and teach computer literacy to seniors. The program will be promoted to high school students inviting them to use their energy and expertise in areas of technology to enable local senior residents to have access to, and instruction in, using a laptop and/or tablet for general use and communication.
Mountain View Seniors\' Housing is a non-profit organization and registered charity that operates seniors\' lodges, seniors\' self-contained apartments and subsidized family housing in four Central Alberta communities - Olds, Didsbury, Carstairs and Sundre. This organization is a valued member of Mountain View Credit Union.
The first step will be to consult with senior residents to determine learning objectives. Because many of the residents do not have family members who live close by, learning email, Skype and Messenger, in addition to Google search, are anticipated to be the most in demand.
The next step will be to meet with the principals, teachers and advisors at all four community schools to incorporate the program into the existing work experience and community outreach initiatives. Based on initial feedback from the schools, there may even be an opportunity for students to earn credit.
Once the volunteers and goals are in place, a schedule for classes/one-on-one sessions/workshops will be established, depending on the individual students\' and seniors\' schedules. This will be a very organic process and it will develop as it proceeds in order to meet the needs of the participants as they arise.
It is anticipated that seniors will have different levels of computer proficiency and will develop at different rates, so the more adept and advanced users will be encouraged to “pay it forward” by helping and instructing fellow residents.
Who Will it Benefit?
By examining the objectives of this project, the beneficiaries are clearly identified.
1. Promote volunteerism and enhance understanding between generations: benefits the local Central Alberta community members of Olds, Didsbury, Sundre and Carstairs
2. Develop skills and confidence in operating computers and computer programs, from beginner to advanced, depending on the resident: benefits seniors living in the four Mountain View Seniors’ Housing lodges
3. Teach high school students about interacting with seniors: this allows them to share their skills and talents and, in doing so, build their confidence and self-worth. They may have an opportunity to earn credit for their participation (volunteerism ‘pays’)
4. Facilitate the development of positive, caring, and mutually-beneficial relationships: all communities are small, rural Alberta towns, where community life is valued and a strong partnership between students and seniors will be welcome.
Mountain View Seniors’ Housing benefits because, by working closely with the schools in their communities, they are building relationships that may result in future partnerships. Additionally, by enhancing the experience of their residents, the organization becomes an even more attractive option for again residents of the local communities.
The Chinook\'s Edge School Division also benefits. The principals are excited to make this pilot project a success for all involved. The schools have indicated that they will be building a great resource of knowledge and experience from this program.