Key Takeaways

  • Every year, NISC's annual Programs of Excellence Awards honor and promote the outstanding programs offered by senior centers across the country.

  • Learn more about Tech Help, a 2022 Programs of Excellence Award Honorable Mention in the Technology, Virtual, and Hybrid Programming category.

NISC Programs of Excellence 

  • Year Awarded: 2022
  • Programs of Excellence Name: Tech Help
  • Hosting Organization: Calabasas Senior Center, California
  • Calabasas Population: 24,000
  • 60+ Population: 
  • Senior Center Members: 2,500-3,000

About Tech Help

In what organizers describe as "an unexpected and exciting role reversal," local high school students have become the teachers and older adults their eager students.

The Calabasas Senior Center's Tech Help program coordinates free one-on-one instruction year-round for older adults to expand their technology skills.  Older adults can drop in to the senior center during a weekly four hour period for technical assistance with all their devices. Competence with laptop computers, cellphones, smart watches, tablets, e-mail, managing  photos, using apps, and learning about Facebook, the Internet, Twitter and so much more can be achieved while enhancing and enriching the lives of older adults.

The high school students are also responsible for recruiting tech-savvy students, training, and scheduling all Tech Help volunteers. They receive community service hours for their efforts, which can make a big difference when students are applying for admission to colleges and trade schools, and for scholarships to pay for higher education. The senior center provides Tech Help applications to interested high school students who want to participate in the program.

The program has been successfully operating for eight years and is still going strong.

teen helping older woman with computer

Key takeaways from Tech HelP:

  • Older adults are encouraged to attend Tech Help sessions through effective advertising:  Promotional ads placed in the Community Services Department's Recreation Brochure; Free TECH HELP coupons are distributed reminding seniors that they can get instruction without an appointment; and a video showing how the TECH HELP program works is available on the senior center website
  • The three elements credited with making the program thrive and worth replicating are:  the effective guidance of the Calabasas Senior Center staff; the 250 interested seniors who have received assistance with their technical devices thus far; the valuable support of the Tech Help Club high school students who are eager to teach.

About the Calabasas Senior Center

The Calabasas Senior Center provides a gathering place for adults 50 years and older where they can enjoy activities that contribute to continued learning and enrichment, socialization with other older adutls, and participation in recreational programs that promote healthy lifestyles. In this comfortable and inviting environment, older adults can enjoy special interest clubs, seasonal events, and gain valuable information from the popular and diverse classes and lectures provided by the Savvy Senior program.