Technology Tutoring Leads to Bonding
During our visits, many residents of the assisted living facilities shared that they had no family nearby and often were alone. Most of them had some form of technology like an I-pad which they could barely operate. The Visiting Teens quickly became the residents’ technology resources after one of the teens shared how Facetime kept her and her grandmother close. Every week residents would bring their devices to the lobby, and we would assist them with something as simple as, “How do you turn this thing on?”
One woman reached out to Olivia and Lexy and expressed her need for technology help. The woman, who I will call Ms. Betty for her privacy, was writing an autobiography for her family. Ms. Betty needed help organizing and saving her documents on her computer, a skill that came easy to the teens. We were able to help Ms. Betty with her computer, and while doing so, got the chance to learn about her family history. She told the teens all about her amazing travels to Asia and many of her experiences over her lifetime. In addition to learning about her travels and stories, Ms. Betty was very curious about our life. Olivia shared with her about her school life, family, travels, and her goals. During the visits with Ms. Betty, the girls felt like they were spending time with a friend their own age. The girls found many things they had in common to bond over with Ms. Betty, such as their shared interest in travel. The three had different knowledge to share as well. In between the visits, the teens and Ms. Betty continued to communicate with one another. She emailed Olivia one afternoon explaining how she had almost finished her family autobiography, and that she could not have done it without help. Ms. Betty wrote, “You make my heart jump for joy. I am thrilled at the prospect of having you for a friend and meeting with you often. Thank you for helping me with the computer. More importantly, thank you for giving my life purpose with your enthusiastic input. The generation gap has already been overcome.” Within a few visits, Ms. Betty, Olivia, and Lexy developed a relationship that was different from others they had experienced before.