The cultural gap between older adults and teenagers only seems to grow wider, but a student-led organization at Cherry Creek High School works to bridge it by demystifying older folks' technological questions.
“We're not too young for things — they're not too old for things. We're all people,” said Simar Chadha, president of Generation Tech, a nonprofit with a club that meets at Creek. He added: “We're all capable of doing what our passions are.”
The club seeks to instill older adults with confidence and to function as “a channel through which both groups can be heard and grow as community members,” according to its website.
Generation Tech works to “provide the 50-plus population entry points into sharing experiences and knowledge with the younger generations while redefining aging in society as a source of giving and a light for the future rather than a necessary burden,” its website adds.
It was founded by Zachary Wang and Chadha at Creek in late 2018, when Wang was inspired by volunteering at the Johnson Adult Day Program in Englewood, which provides activities to those with memory or physical impairments.
And if Generation Tech's goals sound lofty, they are: The group wants to inspire conversation and action against ageism and generational divides in general.
To do that, students meet weekly at Creek and engage in exercises designed to sharpen members' communication skills so they can better listen to the adults they work with. On Feb. 6, students paired up: One partner thought up a difficult issue for the second partner to solve so they could see what it's like for older adults to navigate features of technology that come as second nature to teens, such as email.
The group volunteers to help educate older folks at places such as Holly Creek Retirement Community in Centennial.
And the benefits are a two-way street: Shrujal Mogadati, a Creek senior, said volunteering allows him to better appreciate older generations.
“Personally, I immigrated from India and wasn't able to see my grandparents often,” Mogadati said. “So this is my way of respecting older generations.”
For Sriram Dutt Kalluri, a junior, working with the seniors is a warm affair.
“My favorite part is that I get to share my knowledge with others,” Kalluri said, “but also hear stories from them, which makes me feel happy and comforted.”
For more information on the group, see www.gentechco.org.
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