Balloon Confessions

Intergenerational technology program sparks confidence in senior citizens

Once a month, Wire the Wise hosts events at the 92 Street Y that pair young professionals and senior citizens. The event begins with coffee, bagels and discussion which allows the “wired” and the “wise” to organically connect and feel comfortable with one another before diving into individual technology instruction.
Harold Siegal, 86, at his first Wire the Wise event this past February. Armed with his notebook, pen and smartphone, Siegal waits patiently for his partner to return with another cup of coffee as they finish their one-on-one technology lesson.
Last month, Wire the Wise celebrated its one-year anniversary at the 92 Street Y. During the event, a powerful friendship developed between Siegal and Ben Locke, his partner for the day. “There’s a $1 million pot of gold sitting at 50 Broad Street,” said 25-year-old Locke, “and you have to use Google maps to get there.”
At the end of the session, balloons were passed out to each pair and seniors were asked to write what they had learned from their partner during the event.
For Siegal, it wasn’t Google maps. It was more confidence.