Hey Everyone! 😊
This is a story about something I was able to help make happen just by making a couple phone calls and talking to people. I'm not telling it to toot my own horn, but to illustrate that we all, no matter how busy we are or how little money we have, have the ability to at least try to help make the world just a little bit better than how we found it. And I'm also telling it to help remind us, myself included, that we really can rely on and help each other out. Because, when I did what I did, I put into practice something I learned years ago when working with animal rescues: if you ask people, you'll be surprised how often they say yes.
There's a group I volunteer with that asked me to teach a computer class for people looking for a job. I told them I'm not a teacher, and they told me it doesn't matter because they weren't going to pay me. So, I said, "Fair enough," and agreed. And I've been teaching a couple people in this class for a little while, now. But mostly it has been older people in retirement who have felt isolated with the virus, and not so much people looking for work. Which is fine, even though it's not what the group was trying to accomplish.
So, there was this one lady in my class, who I want to go have drinks with someday and just listen to her talk. She's in her 80s and started off knowing nothing about computers, but she took to them like a duck to water. I kept telling her she must have been one of the people who invented the internet and just forgot to tell me. She thought that was funny. But I'm not sure it's a joke, because I'm pretty sure she'll be teaching me soon.
Anyway, she decided she was going to check out the world of online gaming, about which I know nothing. I'm not a gamer. So, she came into class, one day, and started off with this laundry list of questions about WoW and Fortnite, and I had no answers. So, I told her I'd find a better teacher for her and have them call her and got her user ID from the games.
A couple days later, I walked down to my neighbor's apartment and asked to speak to her teenage son. I told him he was going to be volunteering to teach computers to an elderly person. Fortunately, his mother approved, so he had no choice about being voluntold this way, and the gaming classes commenced.
After a couple of lessons, he informed me that the lady is awesome, has a very cute great granddaughter about his age, and that he's in love. I'm not sure if it's with the old lady or the great-granddaughter, but I figured either way it's a good outcome.
So, me being me, I couldn't leave well enough alone. The lady had friends in her retirement home who wanted to learn about computers. And I knew the local schools have required volunteer hours for students. So, I called one of the schools and gave them the phone number for the management office of the retirement home and suggested they set up a program where the kids can teach computers to the residents and have the work qualify for their volunteer hours. And the school did it!
The lady told me they already have a waiting list both for the residents and the kids. The residents benefit by being able to connect with other people and not feeling so lonely, and the kids enjoy being able to game and have it qualify for their volunteer hours. Win-win.
The only problem? They just don't have enough computers yet. So, once again, I picked up my telephone, and I called a couple of local newspapers and asked if they might consider doing a story about the program. I also suggested they might want to ask the local business community to donate the necessary equipment and setup. And one of the reporters I called wrote back to tell me they think it's a good idea, they just have to get approval. So, we'll see.
And you know what the best part is? It's kind of hilarious, but I never left my living room for any of this except the conversation with my neighbor's kid. All I did was make a couple of phone calls and talk to people. And, really, when it comes down to it, isn't that all team-building and networking is, at their base; talking to people, finding out what each one needs, and finding a way to make sure a project fulfills all those needs while still accomplishing the goal?
Think about it.