Students teach senior citizens computer skills

The Newtonite

by Samantha Libraty
Students from this school and Newton At Home are collaborating to offer four computer classes for senior citizens in the Library Learning Commons in January and February, according to Newton At Home volunteer coordinator Julie Plaut Mahoney ’86.
Newton At Home is a community volunteer-based support system for senior citizens, providing them with services ranging from rides to doctor’s appointments to raking leaves.
Members of Newton At Home could sign up for the four-session computer class, which are Thursdays Jan. 17, Jan. 24, Jan. 31 and Feb. 7. The classes will occur during X-blocks.
Mahoney said that seven members attended the class when it ran in November and December, with a long waiting list.
“We are hoping that seven students will volunteer so we have a one to one student/member ratio,” she said.
Students are not required to have specialized computer experience, just a basic knowledge of how to use email, Microsoft Word and Facebook, she said. Volunteer students will participate in a training session X-block tomorrow.
“We are looking for students who have the desire to work with older adults and technology.
“Students who choose to become involved with this inter-generational program will gain valuable experience working with older adults, as well as have the good feeling of knowing that they are sharing their skills,” Mahoney said.
She continued, “We are excited to invite mayor Setti Warren and members of the Newton School Committee to visit and see how older Newton residents can benefit from the school that they contributed to building.”
Chief innovation officer Stephen Chinosi and librarian Donna Johns are helping to organize the events.
Chinosi said, “Inter-generational programs are critically important for communities. These computer classes represent a gathering of the very best of Newton. The wisdom and knowledge of our older citizens joining forces with the computer skills of our students should prove to be a wonderful combination.”