Montgomery County, Md.
Senior citizens had expressed an interest in wanting to learn how to use technology to communicate with family and friends, to find information online, and to feel more in touch with life in the 21st century. These seniors were paired with high school students through Tech Connect, a program of Montgomery County Recreation. The opportunity to provide senior citizens with new computer skills while interacting with young people proved valuable to both generations in this free program offered at six senior centers throughout the county during the summer of 2016. Older adults learned new ways to prevent isolation by expanding their social networks digitally and by sharing their life experiences with their “student/teachers.” The high school students received training from the Jewish Council for the Aging Heyman Interages Center to help them understand the process of aging. They learned to be comfortable relating to people of an older generation and to be professional in sharing their skills. They received an hourly wage for their work. Post class survey results showed that both young and older participants felt they gained from this intergenerational program. Besides the JCA Heyman Interages Center, community supporters of Tech Connect included Wheaton High School Academy of Information Technology, Forrester Construction Company, Fitzgerald Lakeforest Toyota, and The Hispanic Business Foundation of Maryland.
Ms. Lisa Austin