By Graham Bennett, a teenage volunteer with The Kenwood

My name is Graham Bennett, and I am 15 years old. Every weekend, I have the incredible opportunity to spend an hour helping seniors with technology at The Kenwood in Minneapolis.

The Kenwood is a rental retirement community focused on independent and assisted living for seniors.

I've learned how complicated new technology can be to someone older, and how helpful I can be being more experienced. I believe I am making a difference in the lives of the elderly residents.

As a teenager, I am very familiar with the technology that the seniors are using. I enjoy using my knowledge and skills to assist the seniors. Seeing their curiosity, excitement, and relief as I guide them through texting, emailing, and troubleshooting is incredibly rewarding. The problem is often quick to fix, and I'm glad that I can put a little time and effort into helping someone in my community.

I live very near to the building, and stopping by each weekend is convenient and seems to be appreciated. By familiarizing the residents with the apps, websites, and devices they commonly use, I make them more confident and capable of using technology as a tool. Spending time helping the seniors at the Kenwood eases the trouble and confusion that they have with technology, and since the world is becoming more and more reliant on technology, it's important that everyone has the resources and help they need to use it.

Here I am teaching Jane Katz how to use her laptop as Birgit Andersen waiting her turn for help. Photo courtesy of The Kenwood

I've learned a lot from the stories that the seniors tell me, including what it was like when companies first started using computers. I found this story particularly interesting, because it gave me a greater appreciation for how difficult it must be to have new technology arrive so quickly and to have to adapt.

I've also become better at tech support by learning and troubleshooting with apps that I've never used. I've helped with problems I wouldn't encounter on my own such as burning DVDs and pairing hearing aids. Through my time helping there, I've also become much more confident in my ability to assist with technological problems.

Assisting the seniors at the Kenwood retirement community with technology has a positive impact on my neighborhood. A significant number of the people I help often have problems or questions relating to staying in touch with their loved ones. By guiding them through communication apps and teaching them how to text, email, and connect with their family members, I help them maintain meaningful relationships.

By making a positive difference in the lives of the seniors, I contribute to creating a stronger and more connected community for everyone. Many people return for help each week, knowing that they can rely on my assistance whenever they encounter technological challenges.

My experiences at the Kenwood have shaped me in unexpected ways. They have shown me that small acts of assistance can have a significant impact on someone's life. I feel I've gained a lot myself, and I’ve had the privilege of making a positive impact on the lives of the residents.