Featured High schoolers help Midland seniors navigate technology

Published on November 7th, 2021 📆 | 2940 Views ⚑


High schoolers help Midland seniors navigate technology

Technology keeps changing. And sometimes it can be hard to keep up with.

But a free program at Senior Services of Midland County offers a way for local residents to learn the latest – with the help of local high school student volunteers.

“Cyber Seniors” returned this fall after an 18-month pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fourteen H.H. Dow High School students helped about a dozen seniors tackle their technology questions during once-a-week sessions over a four-week period.

Need to set up your new Chromebook? How about linking up to a new printer? Do you need some tips getting started on Facebook?

Whatever the question, some students who are pretty good at those things have volunteered to sit down and take you through the steps to do it.

“It’s one of the most popular programs we have,” said Mike Trebilcock, a 51-year-old retired teacher who is education program coordinator for Senior Services.

Cyber Seniors is a nationwide volunteer effort that Midland’s Senior Services has been offering since 2016. A senior can work with a student once a week for up to four weeks, or simply attend one session and come away with whatever answers they need.

Computers are available at the Senior Center to work on. But most participants bring in their own technology.

“Most seniors have brought in their own device, that they want help with. … It can be a phone, a tablet, a Chromebook, or whatever,” Trebilcock said. “One gentleman brought in a new printer that he bought. It’s driven by the seniors, whatever needs they have for their technology.”

Trebilcock said the student volunteers also have found the program rewarding.

Wil Kuper, a 16-year-old junior at Dow High, explained what he liked about working as a volunteer during the recently completed session.

“I love it. I think it’s a lot of fun,” Kuper said. “We can help you with just about anything, and are very willing to help you.

“I think it’s awesome to connect to the older generation and hear how different it was for them at our age. … It’s just great to talk to them in general.”

Trebilcock said he has received the same feedback from other students.

“The seniors have shown the mentors some things they didn’t know,” he said. “They’re really learning from each other … and everybody walks out of there feeling good.”

But mostly, it’s the seniors who are getting the help they need.

“One lady had been trying, for a couple of years, to make groups on her email,” Trebilcock said.

Problem solved.

“She was really excited about that. She was just singing the praise of her mentor.”

Kuper, who hopes to attend college to study mechanical engineering, said he was glad he volunteered to help the seniors.

“I’d absolutely recommend it. We can help you with just about anything, and are very willing to help you.”

The fall sessions have come to an end. But a new one is planned for the spring, which will use volunteers from Midland High School. For more information, contact Mike Trebilcock at 989-633-3722.

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