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Francois Tcha

February 28, 2019


Final Report

For my service learning partner I choose Ethel MacLeod Hart Senior Center.

Ethel MacLeod Hart Senior Center is part of the City of Sacramento Older Adult

Services division. It is located in downtown making it the centerpiece of the division.

The center is a gathering place for people who come together to have fun, learn new

things, make friends, and discover the joys of life after age 50. Ethel MacLeod Hart

Senior Center’s mission statement is, “it is the mission of the staff and policies of the

Ethel MacLeod Hart Multipurpose Senior Center to create an environment which

welcomes older people, supports their independence, and affirms their dignity.” Ethel

MacLeod Hart Senior Center offers a variety of classes and activities to optimize the

experience of aging such as dance, education and technology, fitness, arts, games,

recreational activities, and etc. It also offers different types of programs such as the

TechConnections program which help Sacramento seniors age 50 plus navigate the

world of computer technology. TechConnections offers classes and one-on-one

assistance which are mainly taught by volunteers. These are some of the services that

I provided during my time at Ethel MacLeod Hart Senior Center.

The one on one sessions were forty five minutes to an hour long depending

on how many questions the client have. During the one on one sessions, clients are

able to bring up any questions related to technology. Out of all of my sessions, the

majority were on Android and Apple iOS iPhone. Some of other questions are about
web browsers, emailing, and software. If it is a slow day I usually allow the client to go

over the time limit since I don’t mind staying a little bit longer to clarify a question or

topic. I feel that it is very important to make sure the client understand the topic fully

before dismissing the client.

There were different technology classes throughout the week but I did not get

the opportunity to teach a class since they had enough computer instructors signed up.

I did have the opportunity to assist in different classes. A class that I enjoyed assisting

was the online banking class. The best thing about this class, was learning new things

that I didn't even know. Another great amount was when I provided some great

examples on secure socket layer (SSL) and hypertext transfer protocol secure (https). I

kept the topic at a high level, not going into too much detail about how all of SSL and

HTTPs works. I showed the clients what a bad certificate on a website would look like

and talked about what to look for when browsing on a unsecure website.

Another service I provided during my time with Ethel MacLeod Hart Senior

Center was creating flyers for classes, recruiting, and tips and tricks. My site

coordinator and her supervisor really liked the security flyer I created and asked me if

they could possibility turn it into a security class at Ethel MacLeod Hart Senior Center. I

told them that I did not have a problem with it. I am looking forward to seeing the

curriculum for that class. I might even consider helping with the curriculum since I put

together the high level topics.

Overall I believe I achieved the goals I discussed with my organization and

shared in my proposal. I wrote in my proposal that “The service learner will serve as a

Computer Instructor, teaching and assisting older adults in basic computer functions
and programs. There will be weekly one on one sessions before and after class to

provide additional opportunities for older adults to ask questions.” This is exactly what I

did for the past two month at Ethel MacLeod Hart Senior Center.

I can really see the digital divide, working at my service learning site. I had

many more opportunities to work and understand computers growing up in the late 90s,

then the elderly I work with. The personal experiences mentioned in my audio

recording, speaks volume. Technology was growing so fast, that schools started

offering courses and curriculum during my time in high school. This wasn’t the case in

the 60s, 70s, or 80s. The majority of the clients at the Hart Senior Center, grew up not

having the opportunity to work on computers, smartphone, and tablet. Not only that,

they have been doing certain things a certain way for so long that when they are

introduce to a computer and are asked to do things the electronic way, they get scare.

After two month of teaching and assisting, I have learned that it takes a lot of

patience to work with the elderly and that you might be wrong even when you are

correct. I also learned that curriculums built for our generation and younger generations

does not work for the elderly generation. This is because elderly folks have no real

experience with technology at all. An example of this is during the basic computer

class, clients are asked to type in their first and last name, then click on the login button.

Most of the clients struggles with this because they don’t understand that they have to

use the mouse to click the login button and the curriculum does not state that. If you

asked a teenager to do that, he or she will understand since he or she grew up using

technology. If curriculums are too vague, elderly clients will lose interest in the class

and disenroll after a session or two. I also learned that clients really enjoy doing side
activities during class. An example of is when teaching about the computer mouse, one

of the activity is to open up the software Paint and draw something meaningful.

With this in mind, if I were to write curriculums for the elderly I would make

them fun and engaging. I would keep them at a high level, not getting into the weeds.

This will keep the clients entertain while they learn different technologies. This will also

help retain clients who gets overwhelmed with too much details. I think short lessons

are best with the elderly to avoid overwhelming them.

My recommendations for future students performing service projects similar

to mine is to work closely with your site coordinator and is to have a lot of patience.

Lucky for me, I had a great relationship with my site coordinator which lead to a fun two

months of teaching and assisting. Working closing with my site coordinator allowed us

to plan my schedule ahead of time and work out any issues that came up during the

week. Having a lot of patience will help you when you work with the elderly clients.

They are really wired differently compared to the younger generations when it comes to

technology. It not uncommon for an elderly person to not know what Facebook is,

making it even more challenging when learning Facebook. This is where your patience

comes into play and it will take you a long way. Another recommendation is to not be

scared when working with the elderly. Remember that you are the expert, not them.

My overall evaluation of Ethel MacLeod Hart Senior Center is ten out of ten.

Ten being awesome. I was able to fulfill my learning agreement goals and objectives

within the two months. Ethel MacLeod Hart Senior Center worked around my schedule

and accommodated when I wasn’t available to attend a session. They provided parking

pass and had great parking space for all of their volunteers which is super awesome.
Parking downtown is a pain and this was really helpful. Ethel MacLeod Hart Senior

Center provided all of the materials and requirements needed to teach a course. The

computer lab is very clean and up to date. Everyone there greets you with a smile and

are super friendly.

Every Thursday at Hart Senior Center is different in a great way, which is what I look

forward to every week. I am still as excited as before and the nervousness is no longer

there. Teaching and assisting the elderly is now a norm. When I first started I was

scared that I might freeze up during a lecture but luckily for me that did not happen. To

me, it is just like working with a client on a trouble ticket but with a little more patience.

Overall, I have enjoyed my time at Ethel MacLeod Hart Senior Center. I highly

recommend them if anyone is looking to volunteer. Giving back to my community has

been something I have wanted to do for years but have never set the time aside to do it

until this course. Now I can cross it off my bucket list. I am truly grateful for this

opportunity and plan to continue serving at Ethel MacLeod Hart Senior Center beyond

the course requirements.