Tech Savvy Teens Help Senior Citizens Connect

Anita Campbell
County Reporter
Senior citizens at Harbor Village Senior Center received help with various forms of technology from Warsaw High School National Honor Society members on Monday.
Twenty-eight juniors and seniors helped the seniors with their questions about how to use the latest technology from noon until 3 PM.
According to NHS advisor Jowell Roellig, the Harbor Village participants had many questions from how to use their laptops to how to text on their phones.
“One man didn’t know how to use his laptop because he thought it was a touch screen and he didn’t know how to use the touch pad,” said Roellig.  “He had owned the laptop for a year and had never  used it.  He was most so happy to find out how to turn it on.”
The seniors had questions from how to add and delete friends on Facebook to sending pictures on a cell phone.
“We thought we would eat lunch and then help a few people with some questions,” said Roellig, “but we were busy the entire three hours answering questions.”
About 30 senior citizens participated in the event but there will be another chance to get help with technology on February 21 when the NHS students return to Harbor Village for another “Technology Help” day.
“We were thrilled with the response,” said Roellig.  “I was also impressed with the reaction of our NHS students because they interacted so well with the senior citizens.  I had so many of our kids ask if they could go back just to talk with the seniors.”
According to Roellig, a lack of communication skills is one of the number one issues for our youth today.  Employers are searching for people who not only can use technology but can also communicate with others.
WHS senior Aubrie McRoberts helped set up the experience for the Harbor Village participants.
“It was a great experience,” said McRoberts.  “We helped them with their technology problems and we learned so much from our conversations with them about life experiences.”
McRoberts related that one man who was talking to the students the entire three hours had been coming to Harbor Village for over a year and never talked to anyone according to volunteers but he opened up to the teenagers.
“We were all mentally exhausted by 3 because we are not use to talking one on one so much,”  said McRoberts.  “It was good experience for all of us as well.”
McRoberts said that all of the NHS students plan to return to Harbor Village to help the seniors again.
“One lady hugged me and told me that we gave her hope for the next generation,” said McRoberts.
Additional WHS students commented, 
"This experience was precious to me. Sitting down and simply visiting with the warm faces, and watching their smiles brighten the room made this a worthwhile memory. Immediately when we entered the Senior Center, welcomes were passed our way in all directions. Our NHS chapter was fortunate to help each person in need of assistance with their technology. We not only helped each one of them, but we visited and ate with them as well. I am very excited for the future of this new service opportunity that we started this year. Talking with regular visitors allowed me to look forward to the next Technology Days. I even was able to gain advice for the expansion of our event. I am grateful for this opportunity that Mrs. Roellig and the Warsaw Senior Center provided us," said Jessica Dwyer.
"Getting the opportunity to come out here and help people with technology meant a lot, knowing that I was able to help with something people struggle with everyday and getting to know them on a personal level," said Brooke Spry
"I loved the opportunity to be able to help the older generation. I think they really appreciated having the younger generation there to help them with any questions they had and just to talk to them," said Becky Petesch.
Kiersten Grobe commented, "Today's experience was very heart warming. Not only did we help the elderly with their technology needs, we also learned their back grounds. One man told me about how his high school experience was in 1956. It was so much different than today's society!" 
Kylee Fajen said, "To me it meant helping give back, to many of the people I've seen or I known. Many of them have  done something to help or better my future so this is a way to give back to them!"
"Teaching the elderly showed me what it means to give back to our community. It was amazing to see the smiles and have conversations while we helped them work their electronics,"
 said  Kya Schepker 
Parker Love reported, "This was a great experience. It allowed me to learn about the seemingly separate world that we live in and it allowed me to teach the older people how to use the things we use everyday."
"This was a great opportunity to give back to the generation that has done so much for us and our town! I loved getting to know everyone here and helping them," added Joseph Montez
If you are interested in participating in the technology assistance program, call Jowell Roellig at Warsaw High School 660-438-7351 or call Harbor Village at 660-438-3300.