Students make the call to connect seniors

Participants in the cross generational workshop (CatholicCare Wollongong/Sylvia Liber Photography)

Students and seniors in the Wollongong Diocese are pioneering the trial of a new program aimed at bridging the gap between generations and imparting knowledge about technology. Source: CatholicCare Wollongong.

CatholicCare Wollongong teamed up with students from Corpus Christi High School, Oak Flats, and Fr Joe Nguyen of All Saints Parish Shellharbour to trial this new intergenerational program called CROSS+GEN.

The year 10 students volunteered to guide seniors as they explored the use of their phones, iPads and laptops. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of digital technology in staying connected and the seniors enjoyed learning how to connect to Wi-Fi, take and share photos with family, use social media, download apps, scan QR codes, use Skype and more.

Senior participant Michelle said the support from students created a non-threatening environment for the older people to learn the technology. "We've connected over a few topics,” she said. “The students are very patient with us. They're not doing it for us, they are demonstrating, observing, and helping to empower us with the skills."

Seniors guided the session, explaining what they wanted to do with the device, so students could adapt the training to meet their needs.

CatholicCare Director Michael Austin said both CatholicCare and Catholic Education Diocese of Wollongong are thrilled the pilot program has successfully connected student volunteers with local seniors. “We look forward to expanding this program to other regions for the benefit of seniors and youth, regardless of cultural or religious background,” he said.


Generations unite to share knowledge in pilot program (CatholicCare Wollongong)

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