Entering Year 3 of Computer Comfort 👵💻
This fall I’ll be taking on the role of President for the Computer Comfort executive board, and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve been with the org for two years now, and immediately after my first semester of volunteering, I applied for a position on the board. I knew right away that the club was something I wanted to participate in throughout my four years at Iowa, and I’ve held leadership roles within the club ever since. In that time we’ve grown a ton, so I wanted to share a bit about what we’ve done for the community, and how we’ve grown as a student org on campus.
Computer Comfort strives to bridge the age gap in Iowa City by educating seniors on today’s technology while building strong relationships in the process.
Around 7 times each month, Computer Comfort coordinates hour-long sessions in senior living communities, where members are invited to bring any form of technology with them, and ask questions about how they can utilize it in their daily life. In the past, we’ve also given presentations on topics like “Protecting your Identity Online”, “Using Facebook Safely”, “Password Management”, and even “How to use the TV in the downstairs game room”. 😊
In addition to these practical use cases though, we’re always trying to focus our efforts towards helping seniors connect with their families online. Creating a Facebook or video chat account is something that doesn’t take more than 15 minutes to do, and yet, it can provide infinite hours of instant communication with loved ones across the world. Enabling seniors to connect that way online is something that’s proven to be very important to me, but also to the student community at the University of Iowa as well. Over the past 2 years alone we’ve almost tripled our member count, now reaching over 160 current student members. We’ve been featured in blogs and newspaper editorials, and are now looking to explore fundraising to make technology more accessible for seniors with additional devices or peripherals.
The stories our members have from building these relationships are endless. Students have become email pen pals, or editors who spell check novels and poems that have previously never been shared. Others have set up digital photo frames and sat with seniors to learn every last branch of their family tree. Personally last semester, I worked with someone who used to journal every day, but had begun losing their ability to write. We set up a voice recording environment on their laptop, and they’re now back to logging their thoughts each day.
I’m grateful to be taking on the presidential position for a while, and my main motivation for the year ahead is to bring even more stories like those to seniors and students. We have all of our fall dates set for the semester ahead of schedule, and are also for the first time signed up to participate in the Student Org fair on campus. We’ve also got a strong and diverse exec board this year so I can’t wait for our first session.