"Hi, I’d like to watch the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet, can you help me?” an elder lady asked as she walked into the library and wanted to use the Internet to see the show. "Yes, we can, let us help you." said Peter and Leo, the juniors of the program, immediately assigned the task to themselves. They quickly found the show, however the sound did not work. After a few tweaks here and there, and with the additional help from Vincent, who is this year's student president, the three of them soon made the sound work for the elder lady. This is just one example of scenes you will observe during the C&T InterGenerations service.
Ms. Deborah Rittenhouse, the Arts Specialist from the Ring House, and Ms. Ruyan Teng, the President of C&T, initiated this unique program. They believe that creating this kind of opportunity is beneficial both to seniors and teenagers. In the Ring House, our technology savvy students can utilize their strength to help seniors who are in need of learning technology to enrich their retirement life. In return, these seniors have so much to share with the younger generation because of their life experiences and wisdom. As Mrs. Teng proudly stated, “This is such a win-win situation and I am so glad that I kept this program regardless of the difficulties we had encountered. The connection between our students and seniors is a one of a kind bridge that we are building to promote communications and understanding among people from different generations in our community”.
On this year’s InterGenerations crew, there are a few new members. One of them is Bailey, a junior college student from the University of Maryland. Today was his visit to the Ring House, but he was so ready to help out. When asked about his feeling of the Ring House, he said “this is great, I love the environment, I have a ‘fuzzy’ feeling about this place”.
“Wow, they are so good, they helped me making wedding Invitations”, another very content elder lady informed Deborah at the end of the ‘tech hour’. She told Deborah how satisfied she was with her helpers, Peter and Justin.
To help is to be helped. “Thanks so much, Justin, you are a wonderful helper”, “No problem” replied Justin, ready to help more people. Justin, a junior high school student, is a returning helper for the 4th year, and is honored to serve as one of three senior consultants this year. On the car ride to the Ring House, prompted by Mrs. Teng, he gave a brief orientation to other participants about what is expected as a tech helper for this community service. Over the years of practice, he has learned that a neat presentation, nice manners, listening and readiness to offer help are some of essential components of this program.
“Honey, it is a whole new world, and I love it”, a resident said to Deborah. “I am glad. Come back in two weeks when they are here again.” replied Deborah. Mrs. Teng added “Wonderful, we had such a good start, our helpers grew a lot and I am so happy to see that!”
A good start sets a spark. If kindled correctly, this spark can light up a fire. No doubt about it, today’s successful visit will motivate our helpers to improve in the coming visits. With the continuous support from the parents, these tech helpers will continue making magnificent memories with these wonderful elders.
Written by Xiaorong Zhang