Last week, lots of TY students attended a meeting, wanting to volunteer at a course teaching elderly people basic computing skills. This week, seven students were randomly selected to participate. Every Thursday, from two o’clock until four, myself and the other volunteers will go to Balbriggan Library to help out at the course, run by Third Age. Third Age is an organisation which offers several free services for the older generation, including the computing course, helping senior citizens to feel comfortable using computers, tablets and phones in their everyday lives. (http://www.thirdageireland.ie/)
Last Thursday was the first week of the five week course. At twenty to two, the participating TYs met with Ms Clerkin in the atrium and walked to Balbriggan Library where we were greeted by Ruth, the very friendly woman running the course. We were asked to sit beside one or two of the senior citizens in the room and help them throughout the lesson. The woman that I was helping was lovely and she chatted away to me throughout the couple of hours. I found that the time flew by! Not only did I help her to improve her skills for using the internet, I realised that I was learning a lot from her too, as she told me stories of life before the internet and computers.
Halfway through there were refreshments, and we then continued with the class. One of the women was Polish and the girl that initially sat down beside her couldn’t understand the settings on her computer. Luckily enough though, one of the other TYs was also Polish, and could soon help the woman with her computing skills! Even more of a coincidence, the two had actually met a few years before, in Balbriggan. They exchanged emails and will keep in touch if the woman needs further help with her computer. The others also really enjoyed the class, and each TY got on very well with the person they were helping. We realised how important it is that the older generation know how to use the internet safely, and that it is a great idea for the younger generation to teach them. Ruth taught the class and instructed us on how to help the senior citizens, so we had nothing to worry about. We showed them how to use Google properly and navigate around websites. Next week we will be setting up emails with them.