For Executive Directors – How Will Senior Connects Impact Your Facility?
The “Daily Apple” highlights “the kids of the computer generation” teaching seniors – the Senior Connects program.
Senior Connects is a teen run nonprofit that believes highly motivated youths can make a difference in the communities where we reside. As compared to most organizations that offer computer and Internet teaching assistance to seniors, those using the Senior Connects methodology can conduct classes in a public area within your independent living facility. We have found that this is much more convenient for many of the residents, and especially those without reliable transportation or find it more difficult to get around. Generally, 10% to 20% of the residents can be expected to sign up for a class – and sometimes many more. Adult living facilities have had up to 40% of their residents sign up to take computer and Internet classes.
Note to website visitors
The Senior Connects website was the first program offered and was originally the name of our nonprofit. In this section, we are proud that very few things have changed – and have left this section virtually untouched thanks to the vision and insight of the original members of Senior Connects (officially renamed Net Literacy in 2003).
Senior Connects’ Mission
- Create a youth and senior citizens empowerment program that links Independent Living Facilities, Senior Centers, and Senior Apartments that have seniors interested in learning how to access the Internet with high school, college, and extraordinary middle school students. Specifically and as a community outreach programs, students using the Senior Connects program will often conduct their training inside facilities to maximize participation by those that are mobility-impaired or lack reliable transportation.
- Work with volunteer-facilitating organizations and youth organizations to encourage youths to use the Senior Connects teaching methodology in communities throughout North America and around the world.
- Develop a web-based content that contains instructions, frequently asked questions, lesson plans, and practical advice regarding how to effectively teach at facilities and centers so that teens can easily establish this program in their own communities via a turnkey program.
- Serve as a resource to help youths as they establish programs using the Senior Connects training program in their communities.
- Help centers and facilities gain affordable access to computers or attempt to procure computers in their behalf for those facilities unable to afford them.
- Help promote computer and Internet literacy among seniors so they can better keep in contact with their friends and family members and access the Net to improve the quality of their life.
Our volunteers are self-directed individuals that have decided to make a difference in their community by spending some of their free time to help your residents. What should you be able to expect from someone using the Senior Connects methodology of training? Depicted below is a commitment that we ask all volunteers using our methodology to agree to:
- I promise that I will do my best to help others.
- I will be patient and strive to make sure each senior that I’m working with is able to learn at a rate of study that makes them comfortable.
- I respect anyone that strives to improve themselves – and hope that my own quest for knowledge and learning will not diminish when I’m in my 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.
- I will never accept any direct or indirect compensation for any assistance that I provide.
- I will be courteous and professional – and promise to act in such a manner that reflects positively on the independent living facility that has opened their facility.
- I will always exercise excellent judgment and keep my contact person at the facility or center, my parents (or guardian), and adult mentor aware of the progress made during the classes – and promptly discuss any problems, potential problems, or anything that I’m uncomfortable with them.
- If I am 17 years of age or younger, I will select an adult mentor to work with in accordance with the Senior Connects methodology.
- I have thoroughly reviewed this website, and especially the sections regarding Senior Connects’ procedures, and will teach senior citizens using the Senior Connects methodology and follow all of its policies and procedures.
It’s important to note that these volunteers are performing this project on their own time and without compensation. Many facilities offer the volunteers lunch at the dining facility if they are teaching immediate before or after lunch. This also gives them an opportunity to visit with some of the residents that are taking classes.
If the volunteers are not part of a formal organization but have decided to use the Senior Connects training methodology to teach your residents, it is very important for both the volunteer and your residents or members that you satisfy yourself that the volunteer you are inviting into your facility will be a acceptable and the experience will be a positive one for all parties concerned. Each volunteer should present you a resume that includes the school they attend, extracurricular activities or other volunteer work they have performed, and references. It is important and your responsibility to satisfy yourself that this individual is a good fit for your facility and your residences. Also, each volunteer that is under the age of 18 is required to have a mentor (a parent, teacher, or other adult that is 18 years of age or older) – and we invite you to contact the volunteer’s mentor if there is ever a time when you want to learn about or talk with someone about the volunteer. Senior Connects is a student managed nonprofit and many schools, youth serving organizations, or individual teen seek to help others by use this methodology at facilitating organization but outside Senior Connects and Net Literacy’s own volunteers, our organization has not met, interviewed, qualified or checked the references of volunteers using this methodology.
If your volunteer does an outstanding job for your residents, consider thanking the teen via a letter on your letterhead. We ask the volunteers to talk to you if they experience any difficulties – and we appreciate you spending time helping the individual if they have questions or problems that they’d like to discuss with you. Just like this program is designed to provide senior citizens a learning experience, we hope that you will also help ensure that the volunteer has a good learning experience too.
By reviewing this website, you will be able to learn what to expect from the program. You will be able to read the policies and procedures that each individual using the Senior Connects methodology should follow, and satisfy yourself that no resident or facility will ever be charge for the time spent teaching your residents or upgrading facility-owned computers in your public areas. Volunteers are directed to teach in public areas only. Our lessons plans have been adopted from the training provided to thousands of senior citizens and have taught thousands of senior citizens:
- Basic computer skills
- Basic Internet skills
- Internet Search
- Email training
Volunteers will establish a free email address for each resident upon their request. Some residents will have Net experience and only be interested in the answers to specific questions, while still others may not require basic computer skill training but will be interested in receiving Internet related training. Since our classes are small (usually one to two residents per volunteer), they can be customized to meet the individual requirements of your residents.
If you have additional questions about this program, please read through the website – we have kept all of our policies, procedures, and lesson plans publicly disclosed so that you will better know the Senior Connects’ approach and be able to make a decision if this program is right for you. Also, please also read our Terms of Service by clicking on the hyperlink on this website.
Thanks for helping these extraordinary teens that are interested in contributing to their community, and empowering your residents by providing them the option of learning about the Internet. If you have questions or suggestions about this program, or if you are interested in having volunteers come to your facility to teach your residents, please send an email to [email protected]
Special thanks goes to Get Seniors Online who shared this video about seniors discussing how getting online has impacted their lives and what they are doing online. To watch the video, please click on this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=mhxS1JTI34g