WOMEN'S FUND: Seniors Connects a bridge for positive change

Friends Melanie Karwiec and Celia Josh-Sawicki use the kind of cell phones that some people jokingly call a "dumb phone," which makes them seem a bit old fashioned.

With a smart phone, they could take photos and send them to friends and family in a text message.

Pictured from left: Jackie and Josie Tapia, Melanie Karwiec and Celia Josh-Sawicki.

But buying something like a smart phone is a daunting task for these two ladies.
Josh-Sawicki read about an Oshkosh Seniors Center program called Senior Connects that pairs senior citizens with youngsters to help bridge the technology gap. "We knew these boys and girls would know things," Karwiec says.

Funded by the Women's Fund, the Senior Connects program works as a bridge for positive change, connecting tech savvy teens and struggling seniors to ultimately alleviate isolation.

"I NEED TO UPDATE MY TECHNOLOGY SKILLS. MY DAUGHTER SAID, 'MOM, I DON'T KNOW IF YOU CAN DO THIS.'" – Celia Josh-Sawicki, laughing as she learned about Snapchat from two Oshkosh teens during the Senior Connects program

"The response to this program has been outstanding," says Jane Wells, program manager. "We've served 30 to 40 seniors during each school semester and 15 to 20 in the summer."

Students from Oshkosh North High School meet with seniors for weekly classes, during which they teach their "Connects senior" everything from sending a text message to correctly using a hashtag while tweeting.

Sisters Jackie and Joselyn Tapia offered just the right amount of information to Karwiec and Josh-Sawicki about their smart phones, demonstrating apps they use the most and the basics of how their Samsung Galaxy phone works.
"I just like helping people figure new things out," says Joselyn, a freshman at North. "Mostly, I was worried if I could explain things well enough."

"They did a good job. And it felt comfortable, more so than if I had gone to a store to learn," says Josh-Sawicki.

Support programs like Senior Connects, and those that support women and girls in Winnebago County, with a gift to the Women's Fund of the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation.

LEARN MORE about the Women's Fund of the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation


Back to Publications & Reports
Copyright © 2017 Oshkosh Area Community Foundation