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Workshop focusing on technology for seniors facilitated by elementary students.

Cellphones and tablets can keep people connected, never more evident than in the isolation days of the pandemic. That's why a workshop is being held for seniors at Unity Public School to teach seniors to be adept at cellphones.

UNITY — In a valuable partnership between Sask. Senior Fitness, Rivers West Sports District and Sask. Lotteries, older students at Unity Public School will be facilitating one-on-one instruction to grandparents and seniors to help them learn to use their cellphones better.

The instruction was geared toward grandparents and seniors that are 50 years of age and older.

The session takes place March 22 at Unity Public School with registration beginning at 12:30 p.m. The student-led workshop begins at 1 p.m., running for approximately an hour duration.

“Our organization is the Saskatchewan Senior Fitness Association (SSFA), and we are in the Rivers West District for Sport Culture and Recreation,” explains Program Co-ordinator Cecilia Leibel.

“The purpose of the SSFA is to promote physical, cultural, social and intellectual activities for people 50 years and up. We host a variety of programs including poker walks, bowling, gardening workshops, games competitions, cards and many more. Our funding comes from the provincial SSFA, the RW District and other grants we apply for.”

Leibel says the organization applied this year for a Facilitation Independence Grant from the Saskatchewan Seniors Mechanism and through the grant, they are able to offer programs that connect youth and seniors in learning.

“We have chosen five schools and Unity Public School is one of them. Topics will include opening and closing phone, apps, messaging, email, web access and settings,” says Leibel.

UPS vice-principal Graeme Geini and UPS teacher Lori May have their students prepared to work one-on-one with a senior. This allows for 50 seniors to attend the workshop. The attending senior will pay the yearly SSFA fee of $10 and be matched with a youth instructor.

“The incentive for the school to host the workshop is $500 to be used for whatever they want,” Leibel adds. “At this time, the plan is to put it towards the playground fund.”

Leibel says they encouraged students to invite a senior in their life. As well, there are seniors coming from surrounding areas including Cut Knife, Denzil and Macklin.

Youth teaching technology to seniors fosters generational connections, according to organizers. Intergenerational programs can overcome barriers that seniors may experience when it comes to technology use.  Some seniors have family that lives a distance away or they don’t want to bother them with repeated questions on cellphone use and this is where a seminar such as this one offered at UPS, benefits both parties. 

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