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Cyber-Seniors Intergenerational Technology Los Angeles Training Program

A fiscally sponsored group

This grant will support bringing Cyber-Seniors’ intergenerational program to Los Angeles with the goal of: • Reducing social isolation among the elderly by ensuring access to tech devices, WiFi, and training. • Providing teens in underserved communities with training and volunteer opportunities to help prepare them for careers. • Create new intergenerational communities throughout LA that community organizations can lean on to help deliver their programs and services.

Describe the mission of your organization.

Cyber-Seniors mission is to bridge the digital divide and connect generations through technology. Youth are trained to act as digital mentors and older adults benefit by being able to access affordable, effective technology training. Both youth and seniors are provided with valuable learning opportunities and skill development.

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • San Gabriel Valley
  • San Fernando Valley
  • South LA
  • Westside
  • South Bay
  • Antelope Valley
  • County of Los Angeles
  • City of Los Angeles
  • LAUSD (select only if you have a district-wide partnership or project)

What is the problem that you are seeking to address?

It is well recognized and supported in the literature that social isolation poses a significant health risk to older adults. Even before the COVID–19, an estimated 43 percent of community-dwelling seniors suffered from social isolation and social isolation is closely associated with a number of health risks, including increased risk of mortality, dementia, risk for hospitalization and an increased number of falls Research has also found a strong link between ageism, in the form of negative stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination toward older people, and risks to their physical and mental health. Intergenerational programs, like Cyber-Seniors, have demonstrated an ability reduce social isolation and combat ageism by reducing age-segregation and creating opportunities for both older adults and young people to find purpose and meaning in spending time together.

Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.

o TechTelephone Help Line: Cyber-Seniors (CS) will provide a toll-free phone number answered in English and Spanish - 5 days/wk, 9 am to 9 pm EST. Calls come in through a secure call center platform that blocks all numbers, all calls are recorded, & after-hour messages are returned the next business day. o One-on-One Mentoring Sessions: CS will invite seniors to sign up for one-on-one tech-training sessions with trained volunteer teens from the LA area. o Webinars: CS will deliver daily tech-webinars & a variety of health, wellness, & social programs staffed by a trained professional along with teen volunteers. These sessions will encourage socialization. o Virtual Mentor Training and Volunteer Program: CS Mentor Training program will be offered to teen in the LA area giving them an opportunity to put their technology skills to good use while gaining valuable work experience. • Students complete the CS Mentor Training Program online consisting of video lessons, learning activities, and hand-in assignments. • Students complete a Volunteer Profile online, indicating their availability, technology skills, and languages in which they are able to offer support. • Students are notified of volunteer opportunities that match their profile. These include participating in group webinars and offering one-on-one mentoring for seniors. • Student volunteer hours are tracked and supporting reports and certificates of completion can be downloaded directly from the CS website.

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative (expanding and continuing ongoing, successful work)

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct impact

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

This project will: • Solicit and deliver at least 100 donated tech devices to underserved seniors in the L.A. area. • Train and enrol at least 500 seniors and 100 students from the L.A. area. • Demonstrate an increase in the daily use of technology by at least 80% of seniors who participate in the program. • Demonstrate decreased feelings of social isolation by at least 80% of seniors who participate in the program. • Demonstrate improved attitudes towards the elderly by at least 80% of students who participate in the program. • Demonstrate improved confidence and work readiness skills by at least 80% of students who participate in the program. • Support 20 or more organizations that serve youth and seniors in the L.A. area by enhancing their ability to serve their members both virtually and in person.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

CS collects data on an ongoing basis. The CS web-portal automatically administers surveys to participants in the program. Seniors are administered surveys that measure changes in use of technology & connections to the community. Young volunteers are administered surveys that measure changes in attitudes toward aging/stereotype reduction & improvement in skills such as goal setting, time management, leadership, problem-solving & professional skill-building. The benefit & impact of the CS program has been supported by independent research carried out in 2016/17, and published in Gerontology & Geriatric Education in Jan 2018 & in the The Journal of Gerontological Social Work in March 2018. Researchers reported an improvement in seniors’ ability & interest in technology & significant reductions in feelings of social isolation; & found that youth gained skills in goal setting, time management, leadership, responsibility, & improved attitudes towards the elderly.

Describe the role of collaborating organizations on this project.

Cyber-Seniors has partnered with the following organizations in the greater Los Angeles area and we will continue to bring on new partners throughout the length of the project. • Department of Aging LA • LA Metro and On the Go Riders Club • San Fernando Valley Regional/Metro LA • Greater Sinai Compton • Project Giving Kids • Lift-LA • Assembly Women Luz Rivas • Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Our partners will support us by engaging their members, offering free webinar presentations for seniors from the Cyber-Seniors platform and mentoring our youth volunteers.

Which of the connect metrics will you impact?​

  • Internet access
  • Social and emotional support
  • Volunteerism

Indicate any additional LA2050 goals your project will impact.

  • LA is the best place to LEARN
  • LA is the healthiest place to LIVE