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Okanagan College students who are helping the area’s senior citizens come to grips with computer technology are getting a helping hand from Odlum Brown Limited.
The Kelowna branch of the investment firm has given Enactus Okanagan College $3,500 to allow the student organization to take their pilot program to the next level.
“When I heard about the College students volunteering their time to work with the senior citizens to answer questions and allay fears about technology, I thought it was a marvelous program to support,” explains Doug Chambers, Kelowna Branch Manager for Odlum Brown Limited. “The students are well-organized, dedicated and since they started to pilot this program last year, the demand for their help has grown.”
College students Sam Jamieson, Rebecca Alfred, Daniel Alfred, and Meaghan Barnard created Silver Surfers in response to the growing isolation experienced by seniors. Using step-by-step booklets created by the students, seniors are now learning how to use iPads to connect with loved ones through e-mail, Facebook, and Skype.
Professor and Faculty Advisor, Devin Rubadeau, sees these kinds of partnerships between local businesses and the Enactus team as a critical component of community development.
“The students have created a wonderful program that positively impacts the lives of seniors and families,” he said. “With Odlum Brown’s assistance, the Enactus team can focus on delivering Silver Surfers to more seniors, and expanding their reach to the campuses of Penticton, Vernon, and Salmon Arm.”
“Odlum Brown’s support is really appreciated,” says Barnard, co-creator of Silver Surfers. “Not just for the iPads it allowed us to purchase, but for the vote of confidence it represents. All of our volunteers know from their experience how rewarding this program is, but when organizations such as Odlum Brown step forward with their support, it imbues all of us with confidence that we are doing something that is valued.
“Right now we’re working with senior citizens in Lakeshore Place and in November, we will start at Sandalwood Retirement Resort,” she says.
Judging by past experience, the student volunteers are going to be welcomed when they step through the doors.
“I really enjoyed working with the students,” says Agnes Shewring, one of the seniors who benefitted from the Silver Surfers’ explanations and demonstrations of iPad technology this past month. “Their knowledge and passing on that knowledge to me and to others is just incredible. I can now talk to my grandkids over video, something I never thought I’d be able to accomplish in my life!”