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Written by: Marielle Belisario, Program Associate
I was worried before joining Keiro during
the summer of 2018. What was it that I — a soon-to-be-graduate from the
University of California, Irvine — could offer to the Japanese-American and
Japanese community? Surprisingly enough, it was because of the fact that I was a young, emerging professional that
I had something to offer.
Generation Z (a.k.a. Post-Millennials)
is the generation that follows Generation Y (a.k.a. Millennials). Being among the
youngest of Gen Y but also among the oldest of Gen Z, I consider myself to be
influenced by the cultures of both. What that means is that technology, a huge
part of both generations’ cultures, has been a large part of my life as well.
In fact, it has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.
My father has always been an avid tech guy.
Before I started kindergarten, I was already being taught how to use the
computer, playing games like Petz, Reader Rabbit, and my favorite, The Sims. In
the 2nd grade, I was even playing online games with others around
the world! Due to my father’s interest in everything tech-related, I developed
an affinity for computers, gaming, websites, and all things in-between. Here at
Keiro, I have had the privilege of being able to use these skills to showcase
and teach technology to older adults throughout our community.
I co-facilitate numerous sessions of our
six-week “Introduction to iPad” course, where participants learn iPad basics such
as the device’s physical hardware and its software features, like how to use the
FaceTime app. Participants follow along with us on their own device, as we provide
demonstrations and in-depth explanations. Recently we have even created a
“Technology Hour” course, which is a 1-hour Q&A session where participants have
the opportunity to ask Keiro staff various questions about their personal
devices. Though this is still a new course, our Technology Hour sessions have helped
us build closer relationships with the many regulars whom partake in the
However, just because I have grown up alongside
technology my entire life does not mean that I know it all. In fact, we
regularly hit obstacles during our programs when our devices do not cooperate
with us. Participants often remark, “Oh, I don’t know. I’m too old for this
stuff.” Yet despite that, many participants laugh away and continue to practice
and discover the other features their devices can offer. A few of our
participants have even been inspired to go out and buy their own iPads because
they saw not only the value, but how enjoyable they are. Some participants tell
us how useful the Notes app is, while others tell of how fun Siri is to talk
to. From these classes, they have told us they feel empowered to try new tasks
and find other ways they can incorporate technology into their daily lives.
Hosting these programs reminds me of the
days my father would help me type and click around while I was still learning
the ropes. Certainly technology is useful, but more importantly it is fun to
use and to explore, regardless of your age or ethnicity — that is what makes
technology so wonderful. The ultimate goal of the programs we offer is for
everyone to come out of the experience more knowledgeable and excited about the
use of technology, just like it was for us in the younger generations as we
were growing up. What a rewarding time it has been!
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