Partnership Success Stories: Never Too Late to Learn

Class in progress

Among ESGH’s senior-adult programs is BridgingApps’ Did You Know–On the Go series, which brings hands-on technology training to local community centers. Today, two of our team members share their experiences with On the Go.

(Thanks also to the Consumer Technology Association Foundation, for their grant that helps make these services possible!)

Tara Rocha on Catholic Charities

Mamie George Catholic Charities is a hidden gem in Fort Bend County, hosting various weekday classes for members 55 and older. We’ve been providing technology-tips sessions for about a year and a half—usually focused on how to use apps for budgeting, fitness, and other common senior concerns.

Sharing device updates. The handout walks participants through popular features and how to turn those features on. 

Each session includes:

  • Hands-on support for all participants.
  • Bilingual (English-Spanish) hard-copy handouts, with step-by-step instructions that help learners follow the training in real time.
  • QR codes on the handouts, for quick access to resources on our website and elsewhere.
  • Information on new Android/iOS updates and features.
  • Q&A time, which often uncovers training ideas we hadn’t thought of. I remember one participant who asked about organizing her recipes and food photos. We helped her use a photo app to group the pictures into an album and to save links through captions and metadata: it was like making her own personal Pinterest. We’ve helped other students create easy slideshows and movies from photo albums.

For more complicated questions, we schedule one-on-one sessions at least once a month. This is also helpful to clients whose primary language is Spanish, and who may have difficulty catching relevant details during group session.

Amy Fuchs on the Jewish Community Center

Ale helping a Foster Grandparent volunteer. May 23, 2024

Our team started working with Lifelong Learning (a program of the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center of Houston) in 2019. We first partnered with their Senior Companions Program in May of that year, and with the Foster Grandparent Program the following November.

Both programs are for volunteers age 55 and over:

  • Foster Grandparent for those interested in working with children in schools, hospitals, treatment centers, and similar agencies.
  • Senior Companions for those wanting to help same-age peers. Volunteers provide a variety of services. For example: driving; household help; and companionship as an antidote to loneliness.
We were fortunate to be able to share bone conduction wireless headphones, generously donated to us by Shokz, with all of the nearly 70 participants present that day!

Initially, we were invited to the Jewish Community Center to share an overview of Easter Seals Greater Houston services, especially BridgingApps’ technology training for active, older adults. Over the years, we have shared many other lessons on mobile technology. For example:

  • How to scan and email a document
  • How to create a Facebook account
  • How to download the YouTube app/find YouTube videos
  • And, when many senior volunteers were stuck in their homes due to COVID, how to join video conferencing calls and stay connected with family and friends.
Harder-to-find smartphone. At least once a month, we schedule one-on-one sessions where patrons can ask about devices or personal goals not covered in the larger sessions.

More recently, a typical BridgingApps visit involves mutual “catching up”: sharing the latest on our Assistive Technology Lab and other services; checking on participants’ tech-skills progress; sharing “refresher” lessons; answering new questions; and good old socializing. On our most recent visit (May 23), we introduced the latest in bone-conduction wireless headphones, generously provided by Shokz. Nearly 70 participants attended!

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