Philadelphia senior students help seniors bridge the technology gap in pilot program

The latest and greatest technology can be challenging to learn, especially as people age. But, some local students have been working to make it easier through a pilot program.

"She told me them things that be on tv. Them little brackets. You can take a picture of it and it will take you right to the website?" remarked Barbara Molten.

Molten understands QR codes and a whole lot more now thanks to high school senior Frankie Smith, for whom it was no heavy lift.

"I have grandparents, too! And, they all act the same way. But, I’m always very patient with them. And, I’m always ready to help," Smith explained.


Young folks know tech by nature, usually more than seniors often feel left behind. Bridging that gap is the whole idea behind State Representative Chris Rabb’s Senior to Senior program – the young teaching the not so young essential online skills.

"We’ve seen how much need there is for this kind of literacy during the pandemic, where there are things available to them through government that they don’t know how to access. Because they haven’t learned those skills. And, some of those young people? They are born to it!" Rabb explained.

The student-teachers come from Hill-Freedman World Academy. The program is underwritten by Chestnut Hill College. Lois says her student-teacher Aaron opened doors she’d grown frustrated with.

"When you’re a senior, sometimes you don’t take that much of an interest in technology. And, if you try, you can be a little bit like, ‘Oh no, I don’t wanna be bothered with that, because it’s not working right.’ But, with him, everything went smooth," Lois commented.

Lois says Aaron got rid of a couple of thousand backlogged emails and got her better at connecting to Wi-Fi. Rah Noonan-Ngwane graduates Temple this year. She’s going into social work and likes how the program engages both kinds of seniors.

"This would be the program that it is without the energy that each individual brings to the space. And, without the knowledge that they bring to the space. So, I’m just blown away to see how everyone has blossomed," Rah stated.



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