LANSING, Ill. (November 30, 2023) – Eleven middle-schoolers from Lansing Christian School gathered outside Tri-State Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Lansing on Wednesday morning.
“People always say how much younger generations can learn from older people, but the opposite is also true: they can learn a lot from you,” Christian Moody told the group before they walked into the building.
Moody is the Director of Business Development at Tri-State, and had previously spoken with Lansing Christian School Principal Matt Kamien about some client needs surrounding technology. The two worked out a date for LCS students to come and assist clients.
The 11 students, along with LCS teacher Megan VanderZee and LCS principal Matt Kamien, gathered in a common area within the facility to meet with Tri-State clients and residents who needed assistance with their smartphones or tablets. According to Moody, a Medicaid program had provided clients with new devices, but many clients still were not sure how to use them properly.
Lansing Christian middle-schooler Caleb Schutt said he was able to help a client — Niko Chacon — figure out his tablet. “He needed help with his contacts and stuff in his tablet, and also he had a game that wouldn’t load,” said Schutt.
“He fixed it for me. I got emails, I got all of it,” Chacon said. “It’s been hard to do it. We had a hard time trying to get in.”
Another student, Elizabeth Alons, helped a man named Phillip turn on his new phone and learn how to make calls.
Prior to the students’ arrival, Moody had dropped off a phone and a tablet at Lansing Christian School for teacher Megan VanderZee to prepare the students. VanderZee typed out a list of instructions for turning the devices on and off, making a call, and other basic functions. Students used these sheets as the basis for their tech tutorials.
Beyond any tech issues, Moody said a benefit to having the students meet with clients lies in the power of a friendly conversation.
“For some of our residents, they may never learn how to use the technology. But the fact that someone came in and spent time, and was kind with them, that means everything,” Moody said.
Conversations around the room would shift to life experiences, sharing about the Thanksgiving holiday, and other stories. Sometimes the conversation shifted from how to access contacts on phones to the actual contacts themselves. One man used his new knowledge to call a loved one, and told the person on the call that he’d received help from a student, and now he could call.
“We’re hoping this is an ongoing partnership, and also that it opens up a pathway for students to get more engaged,” Moody said.
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