Hi I’m Amanda and I've been volunteering in the Older Adult Tech Training Program since July 2021.
I think of myself as a drop-in "Geek Squad" for seniors who are encountering problems with their phones, computers, email, or the internet.
Growing up, my family didn't have a computer, but computers were around -- at a friend's house, at the library, at school. I noticed that the logic of computers made sense to me, but my parents and grandparents had a harder time understanding it. They would often ask me for tech help. As a kid, it was fun to be the expert on something! As I became an adult, I moved away from my hometown in Kentucky for school, work, and more school. I finally landed in Madison for my job at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Strangely, though -- I missed helping my family with computers!
“I knew we weren't the only family having technology challenges. I couldn't help my grandfather, but maybe I could help other seniors get and stay connected to their families and communities online.”
Finally, I was compelled to volunteer at the Goodman Center because of the pandemic. With the pandemic it became hard to stay in touch with my family, especially my grandparents. My grandfather got very sick and had to move into a nursing facility and couldn't have visitors. He became very isolated and lonely because he couldn't use technology well without someone helping him.
I knew we weren't the only family having technology challenges. I couldn't help my grandfather, but maybe I could help other seniors get and stay connected to their families and communities online. I live close to the Goodman Center. I saw in the East Side News that the Goodman Center had an Older Adults Technology Training program. After vaccinations were widespread, I contacted the Goodman Center to ask if they needed volunteers. Yes! So I've been volunteering since July 2021.
Volunteering at the Goodman Center is always one of the happiest parts of my week. I've had the great fortune of meeting many fabulous seniors that I probably wouldn't have met otherwise -- Sheila, Larry, Oscar, Susan, Robert, and many others! They teach me as much as I teach them. I love helping them solve problems with their phones, cameras, or computers, or understand how something works online. They challenge me to think differently about the internet and how we as a society organize ourselves (online and offline). They also help me learn about how technology might be made more accessible for all people -- and also how we might make a better world.
Thank you, Goodman Center, and all the staff and seniors that pass through your doors!
August 16, 2022
A successful summer for our volunteers deserved a grand celebration!
August 8, 2022
Read about what the Fritz Food Pantry at the Goodman Community Center needs right now!