If you think older adults are not digitally connected, you’re wrong. Nearly 70% of adults 65+ use mobile phones, more than half use email, and a third of older Internet users are on Facebook, according to statistics supplied by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project. With all of that connectedness comes a lot of questions, and that is why Menlo School junior Josh Lauder will be at Moldaw Residences tomorrow (1/17) along with 10 of his friends, holding one-on-one tutoring sessions.
The sessions are part of Menlo School’s PACT project. Beginning every spring, each sophomore develops his or her Personalized Action-Community Time (PACT) proposal for a project to be carried out during his or her junior and senior year. “The PACT enables juniors and seniors to build on the skills they developed as freshmen and sophomores and gives them the freedom to create a service project related to a social issue of personal importance,” explains Jill Kasser, who is is a PR consultant for the school.
In addition to carrying out a successful PACT, juniors and seniors are required to participate in at least three Menlo service opportunities.
“I’m doing this as my PACT project with my friend Brock Cozad,” explains Josh. “I’ll most likely be doing four sessions at the Moldaw Residences. I did an almost identical project about two years ago at the residences with five Menlo friends, and it was a great success.”
Josh developed the idea after successfully helping his grandparents navigate their Apple devices. He set up his grandfather’s iPhone, taught him how to text and email, play chess, and read his favorite newspapers. Josh found that enlarging the text was extremely helpful. His goal is to teach seniors how to be self sufficient when using today’s tech gadgets. (Josh is pictured with grandfather Bill Heller and his iPad.)
“I know that family members can get frustrated when trying to help their loved ones learn how to use technology,” he says. “When we visit Moldaw, we will be extremely patient, and I hope that the seniors get a lot out of the sessions. I find it very rewarding to volunteer my time, and I’m sure we will all have a lot of fun.”