In partnership with the Redmond School District and Meta, the Redmond Senior Center is hosting a program called Tech Zoomers.
Tech Zoomers allows older adults to receive technology support from Ridgeview High School computer science students.
Redmond resident Linda Shelton took her first class Wednesday afternoon.
“I want to find out how to scan my photos and put them onto a hard drive,” Shelton said. “I hope I remember what I’ve been taught.”
The program started this month, serving as an internship and school elective for students.
“So basically they’re paired up with two or three senior citizens and helping them with their technology needs,” Josh Davis, Ridgeview High computer science teacher said. “The great thing is they’re really learning serve their community, give back to their community.”
Both students and participants benefit from the program.
Students get paid $20 per hour thanks to funding from Meta, previously known as Facebook, and participants get whatever tech question they have answered.
“Convenient is the word for it,” Shelton said.
Seven students and 16 senior citizen are currently involved and there is a wait list with even more eager participants.
The pilot program will run until the end of the school year, but will likely continue next term.
“So this is the first pilot program of its kind in Central Oregon,” William Marks, Meta community development manager said. “If this program is successful, which from what I’ve seen it’s looking great, we’re going to continue funding for the summer and the fall.”
Students come about six hours per month and coordinate directly with who they are helping, they also work on resume and time management skills through Youth CareerConnect.
“They’re not in a classroom,” Larry Holeman, Youth CareerConnect regional manager said. “They are actually doing the teaching, they are enabling people who may not know a lot about technology to understand the technology that they use every single day.”
The Redmond Senior Center does hope to continue and grow this program in coming years depending on the success of this pilot launch.