Teens coach seniors on getting gadgets to work
On Saturday, he helped Kathryn Hack of Marysville figure out how to use a digital picture frame she was given on her birthday more than a year ago.
The Mountlake Terrace sixth-grader was one of about a half-dozen tech-savvy teens who came to the Mountlake Terrace Library to help older adults figure out their new gadgets.
“I really enjoy technology, and I always feel much better after helping someone,” Zander said.
Computer programs and new applications take him a while to figure out, but that only makes it more fun, he said. No surprise, coming from a kid who finds math easy.
Most teenagers these days are on much better terms with technology than adults. Even if they don't know how to use a particular device, they usually learn quickly and easily, said Dawn Rutherford, a teen services librarian.
“They are used to having these things in their lives,” she said.
Library staff have been looking for intergenerational programs. They borrowed the idea for a gadget-coaching session from the Lynnwood Parks Department, which held similar events in the past, Rutherford said.
Staff went to the local senior center to invite people to participate and publicized the event at Mountlake Terrace High School.
“Teens like to help. They just need opportunities to make it easier,” Rutherford said.
Kids showed up from Everett and Shoreline, among other places.
Marsha Rockett, 71, came all the way from Bellevue to get tips on how to use different features on her new MP3 player, cell phone and digital camera.
Many older people such as Rockett are interested in new technology. It's just that, when instructions prove impossible to decipher, they get discouraged, she said.
“Unless you have grandkids, you are stuck,” Rockett said.
Rockett said she likes listening to music while walking her dog. She learned how to upload new songs and photos on her player.
“I found some things I didn't know it had,” she said. “I have to practice now, or I'll forget.”
Mountlake Terrace High School student Kassi Leicester, 16, volunteers at the library, earning community service credits.
She has seen her own grandparents struggle with new gadgets and decided to help out on Saturday. She was playing baseball on a Nintendo Wii console with other teens, waiting for more adults to come in.
The session was halfway through, but only a handful of people had showed up to get help. Rutherford, the librarian, said she hopes more people will come to take advantage of the next sessions in Mountlake Terrace and in Lynnwood.
Lynette and Clinton Riedner, ages 74 and 77, of Seattle, were glad they took advantage of the opportunity. The couple said they feel a bit embarrassed asking their own children for help too often. Jessie Triemstra, 13, showed them different features on their cell phones, which they bought grudgingly but have accepted as useful.
“It's harder to learn at this age, but we need to keep up,” Lynette Riedner said.
Katya Yefimova: 425-339-3452, firstname.lastname@example.org.
There's more help coming
Couldn't make it? The event takes place again from 1 to 3 p.m. on March 27 at the Mountlake Terrace Library and from 4 to 5 p.m. on March 24 at the Lynnwood Library. Teens interested in volunteering can call Dawn, 360-651-7069.
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