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Tim Emerson

Systems Engineering, FIRST (For Inspiration & Recognition of Science & Technology

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How can we better leverage the experience and education of our senior citizens?

Senior citizens are a vast untapped source of knowledge and experience. Many seniors are retired or "empty nesters" who have free time. This section of our population is comprised of engineers, scientists, trades people and business professionals to name a few.

I envision the following uses for this resource:

Mentor High School Kids
- Career Counseling
- Evaluating and Developing Intern Opportunities
- Contact sharing
Veterans Support
- Career Counseling
- General skills training
- Specialty training
- Contact Sharing

Initially, I see the content to be session based. Sessions would include:
- Discussion Content
- Q & A time

Sessions could be delivered remotely or locally depending on resource availability and session scheduling. Local business may be wiling to offer conference room and projector resources. Content could be delivered by WebEx.

Some potential issues I haven't addressed are:
- Evaluating and vetting resources
- Management and oversight

This is meant to be a conversation starter. I realize there many more details that would need to be addressed. I look forward to your input and ideas.

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  • Feb 25 2014: My experience with volunteering have been similar to the posts here. Soon after my retirement, I answered an invitation to the county community center for tutoring a bunch of elderly to use the personal computers. I filled out an application stating my qualification and my proposed content or desire to the tutoring. after their screening, they said I would be an assisant to another guy for a particular section. Even though I had been a full professor in mathematics and statistics with experience in writing computing software and doing lot of quantitative research using computers, I still cheerfully accepted the role without any protest. But the most irritation arose when we were given a syllabus and were told that we were limited to teach more or less the only materials in the syllabus. However, the only material in it consisted of how to turn on the machine and how to play a card game (solitary), and not even to how to connect with the internet. Furthermore, I believe they could easily learn at least some basic word processing and the very simple spreadsheet entry and summations in a 4 week course, which would be tremendously helpful for their daily life. But that's not possible. In other word, we were just a glorified "mouth piece" for them, nothing else. I still completed the session and got a certificate of appreciation. I quit for the next "appointment", of course.
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      Feb 25 2014: Thanks Bart - That would be one major problem to solve. The syllabu could be highly limiting to some. It could be over the head of others. I believe there could be a lot of value in a short topic followed by a moderated discussion.
    • Feb 25 2014: Hi Dear Bart,from your experience of retirement,I do learn how to deal with things when they aren't pleased to do.

      I am curious about you mentioned:writing computing software.Because I am teaching my students programming course this spring term.when I was studying in university I majored in Computer Education.I keep gratitude for the major I learned.I am very interested in it and like to meet some people who work in the same field to learn more about programming.So if you don't mind,contact me with my email:joyslove@163.com I hope I can get chance to learn from you:)Thank you.
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      Feb 25 2014: Bart,
      What a GREAT opportunity for you and your senior students!!! Too bad it was so limited, which made it less interesting for you and the students!

      One thing I learned, as a volunteer coordinator with United Way, is that information given to me by the potential volunteer was sometimes not accurate, and/or organizations did not provide an accurate job description of what they were seeking with a volunteer. Sometimes, folks "expanded" the scope of their talents, skills and experiences, and sometimes, they didn't give all the information about themselves because they didn't want to appear to "brag".

      I coordinated the volunteer with the requirements put forth by the organization, and once in awhile it was not a good fit and did not work out. Volunteers need to be clear about what they can give, and organizations need to be clear about what they want.

      Sometimes, with my other volunteer positions, I was given a very small task in the beginning, and once we all discovered what I was capable of, in the context of the organization, my duties increased....like my positions with the dept. of corrections for example.

      I volunteered to serve on a "Reparative Board" at first, then because this program was administered through P&P (probation and parole), I was often in that office. Soon, I was hearing.....as long as you are here Colleen, would you do this or that? I had the opportunity to say no of course, but it was a great learning experience for me, and if I could help them too, it was a win/win situation. They sent me for training in mediation, which brought me to the correction facilities and various other programs, so what started out as a board position became years of interesting educational experiences.

      It seems like your volunteer experience could have mushroomed like that Bart....too bad it wasn't apparent to all participants!
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        Feb 25 2014: Great point! Volunteers often start at one point and grow into another. I envision mentor led discussions but I know not every volunteer will have the speaking skills needed.
    • Feb 26 2014: Bart:

      Limitations of knowledge of people in power is hurting this country from very low level to the office of President. We often operate at lowest level of our collective capacity.

      I understand your frustration
      • Feb 26 2014: Raj

        I appreciate your comment very much, not only for your agreement, but also your comment on the efficiency of the governments' policy, at all levels, coincide exactly what I think.
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    Feb 25 2014: The experience and education of our senior citizens is, at least in the opinion of this contributor, the most valuable resource that is untapped or overlooked by our educational system, especially at the K-12 level.

    One of the main issues being debated today is:
    Are our children failing schools? Or, Are our school administrators and teachers failing our children? The main reasons why many students don't do well, especially in math and science, are:
    1) Many teachers don't have the adequate knowledge and experience in teaching math and science, especially at the middle and high school levels.
    2) Even when a teacher has the right qualifications to teach math and science, only the top tier of the class (25%?) adequately learns the lessons. It is almost impossible to individualize teaching and provide extra attention and help to strugging students when there is one teacher teaching 30-35 students about a complex subject where the range of motivation, preparation, ability, and learning styles of the students is wide. It is not uncommon to find students in middle or high school math and science classes who are two, three, or even four years below grade level. One of the most effective ways to individualized instruction is for a teacher to have qualified teaching assistants or teacher volunteers to assist in this kind of learning environment.
    3) There are many parents who are incapable or who chose not to provide the necessary support for their children.

    Concerned senior citizens who have strong background in the math and sciences can fill this void. There are so many who are just waiting to be invited by school administrators, teachers, and parents to share their time and expertise.

    SCORE, a not-for-profit organization consisting of retired business executives, provide an invaluable service by mentoring small business entrepreneurs. The same model can be applied to the education sector.
    http://www.score.org/
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      Feb 26 2014: Rodrigo - I agree with your comments. I have the greatest respect for teachers and the commitment they make to our youth. I also believe we need more input from the workforce.

      While seniors could help with teaching, I feel their biggest contribution could come from their experience.
      Why something might look good in theory but be impractical.
      How can you promote your really great idea?
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        Feb 26 2014: Hello Mr. Emerson,

        As mentioned in my contribution, one way is to adapt the playbook of SCORE. For this idea to gain recognition and momentum:

        1) There must be an organization that will organize and administer its programs. For the sake of discussion, we call the organization eCORP (e for education, C for Corps, O for of, R for Retired, and P for Professionals), Corp of Retired Professionals. Its primary aim is to offer assistance to schools.

        2) There must be a governing body, i.e. Board of Directors (BoD), overseeing the organization. The initial duty of the BoD is forming a Charter of Incorporation including its vision and mission and creating a Manual of Operations that will spell-out in detail the policies and procedures that will guide its leaders and members in performing their duties.

        3) The BoD should consist of some of the most innovative and dynamc retired professionals - school administrators and teachers, entrepreneurs and businesspeople, scientists, engineers, lawyers, artists, and government leaders.

        4) Your ideas!
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      Feb 26 2014: In many countries public schools are delighted to accept volunteer tutors. Any senior interested in this opportunity should contact the local school.

      Realize too that schools in affluent areas often have more volunteers than they can accommodate, while schools in poorer areas are often short. That is where volunteers can make the greatest difference. Tutors most likely will work with students outside the classroom rather than helping in the classroom in the middle and upper grades.

      Schools often require training of volunteers, as knowing subject matter is not all it takes to be effective.
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        Feb 26 2014: Thanks for your input, Fritzie!
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        Feb 26 2014: That is a good point Fritzie....training of volunteers, because knowing subject matter is not all it takes to be effective.

        I observed sometimes, that people are offended when they find out there is training. It may feel to them like wasted time if what they are volunteering for is well known to them. However, often times volunteer positions are with a vulnerable population, like children, elderly or disabled. It is not only the job or information that is important. They might need to learn how to interact with those they are volunteering with, which may be different than the life scenario they are familiar with.

        I also noticed sometimes, people are offended because there is usually a background check, and with our world as it is today, the background checks are getting more thorough. Sometimes, there are a lot of forms to fill out and information to be verified before a person is accepted into a volunteer program, and this may seem complicated to some folks.

        It is all part of the volunteer process, and if a person is committed to the idea of volunteering, it is helpful to know about these challenges going into the experience.
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          Feb 26 2014: Yes, I had a volunteer once with a PhD in physics who told one of the students to shut up. You can imagine how this went over.

          Further, it is important for volunteers to have an idea of what to expect. People outside of the school environment often have a quite distorted picture of the actual challenges they might face in the classroom.
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        Feb 26 2014: Probably didn't go over too well Fritzie!!!

        When I was the volunteer coordinator for United Way/RSVP, we often had people referred to us by their parole officer because they needed to fulfill a community service obligation ordered by the court. They often wanted volunteer positions with children or elderly people, which we could not recommend or support. There are lots of volunteer positions for them however, and lots of different people with many different talents and skills.
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          Feb 26 2014: I had potential volunteers who wanted only to work with gifted kids when what we needed was help supporting struggling students.

          I just put on a one-day event at the university that required forty volunteers with no opportunity for me to interview face-to-face. I had to explain to the representative of a group of young people why I could not plug them in sight-unseen and without training opportunity into various critical roles. But what they did do was extremely valuable and got lots of positive acknowledgement.
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        Feb 27 2014: I'm glad that event turned out so well Fritzie.

        There are a lot of very talented and skilled people, and a lot of volunteer opportunities. Good communication is an important factor to getting a match that fits. All participants need to be clear with what they want, what volunteers can do, and how it all works together. It's kind of like any aspect of the life adventure.....good communication is important:>)
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          Feb 28 2014: Fritzie and Colleen- You bring up very valid points. Setting expectations and qualifying volunteers would be complex task. I think any successful program would need to consider those issues.
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        Feb 28 2014: It's not really that complex Tim, and many larger organizations have volunteer coordinators now. It's really a matter of good communication and ability to plug the right people into the right volunteer positions. We look at the job description, consider the potential volunteer's talents and skills, and give it a try. Sometimes it doesn't work out, and in my experience as a volunteer coordinator, it didn't work out because the job description was not clear, or the potential volunteer was not clear with information that might have contributed to a more successful experience for everyone.
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          Feb 28 2014: I agree with Colleen. In volunteer organizations like the United Way, there may be a pre-screening to suggest matches, but the organization needing support follows up with interviews. In most cases an interview for a volunteer job of any duration is very much like a job interview for a paying job. It gives both parties, employer and volunteer, opportunity to judge the fit. If there is also a training program, that provides a second such opportunity.
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    Feb 25 2014: Hi Tim,
    I honestly have not found any difficulty finding volunteer opportunities in this area (Vermont) anytime in my life. As a young mother/wife, my priorities were with the family, so I used some skills by volunteering with ski programs and organized a summer swim program for kids in the community. That way, I could spend time with my kids AND contribute to the community.

    As the kids grew up, I had more time, so I volunteered as a board member for the regional home health organization, and joined the local rescue squad.

    As my life changed again, I became a member of the local planning commission, then the development review board. More time became available with retirement, so I also served on the regional planning commission, transportation advisory committee, and regional project review committee (still serve in these positions).

    In between times, I volunteered with united way, a women/children's shelter, family center, dept. of corrections, etc. in several different capacities.

    I have a bunch of retired engineer friends who do work for non-profits as a group....building projects, painting, electrical and plumbing work etc. I have friends who are volunteer advocates for children in the court system, and advocates for elderly and disabled folks, some friends are mentors for kids at risk, some who provide support for the resettlement program (people from different countries moving to this area).....the possibilities are unlimited!

    In my perception and experience, the opportunities are here, there and everywhere. It's a matter of us seniors reaching out to situations that best suit the use of our skills and talents:>)
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    Feb 25 2014: I think the easiest way to incorporate seniors back into our society is with timebanking systems. They are thriving in Europe and America is slowly catching up.
    http://timebanks.org/

    Added Note: At this time because there is no cash changing hands or expected returned services as in "bartering" it is also tax exempt according to the IRS, a big plus. Some timebanking communities are banding together so that a time dollar earned in my community can be spent in another community which has advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is more services available to everyone and the disadvantage is you lose some of the ability to validate and monitor the system to make sure it is being run honestly. In a small community everybody knows everybody else making it really hard and unlikely for anyone to cheat the system.
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      Feb 25 2014: Thank you Keith - This is an interesting option.
    • Feb 28 2014: Great idea! Provides credit without getting tangled up in money issues. As we timebank on a larger scale people will get creative with it and more opportunities will open up. Maybe you wouldn't mind house-sitting in Hawaii for a month... Sometimes we'll get to use our career skills and sometimes they'll just need another watchful eye to expand the capacity of an existing preschool. There are 3 neglected groups that we could really help... 1 in 5 school kids are dyslexic to varying degrees. With a free 5 hr video you can learn a simple system that will enable them to learn to read. You won't be surprised to hear that ~60% of our prison populations have trouble reading and ~40% are dyslexic. Help these kids, reduce crime and probable our insurance bills. That 3rd group? Seniors in these despicable care facilities, need advocates, to see that they're not neglected, abused or intentionally overdosed to make room for the next. When all is said and done, the best part of all this, is keeping ourselves active and healthy and bringing a sense of community and compassion back into our culture.
  • Mar 1 2014: A lot of what I am reading below puts the burden of sharing lessons learned, mentoring and training the next generation on the elders. While it is noble for these folks to share the time and wisdom with the younger generations, and in the case of family it may be an implied responsibility, the burden of generally sharing these things with the public at large should not be a demand or expectation. The sand in life's hourglass is diminishing and we are asking elders to do what we want them to do with their remaining life rather than what they want to do, except instances where the elders have selflessly decided that helping the next generation through volunteer work IS what they want to do.

    How about instituting a post-retirement period of worker emeritus status, where skilled workers continue to come to work, but are no longer burdened full time with "the job",but rather helping others accomplish and learn "the job". I think many would want to do this type of work for a long period of time. It would need to be properly incentivized with financial or other compensation that did not complicate or take-away from retirement revenues or benefits. It would need to be very flexible, to work around travel plans, medical issues, or other goals the workers may want to do in life. It would need to be coordinated and worked such that the workers on the job were not adversely impacted and benefited from the training or wisdom. You might consider collective efforts where professional organizations try and capture the wisdom and push the art forward.

    Some very smart people might look how this sense of purpose increases the health of elders and realize that subsidizing such efforts might reduce the nation's medicare costs, and perhaps justify subsidizes to help start such programs up in businesses strapped for cash.

    It could be a very beneficial partnership.
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      Mar 1 2014: I assumed a different context for the question. Most of the time when people raise this question it is because they think there is not an effective structure for giving elders the opportunity to continue to contribute rather than that they think society should compel elders to contribute.
      • Mar 1 2014: I think most people have, but as Gord G. points out..they have done enough. If elders have worked and save to the point that they can retire, and choose to do so, then they should be free to do exactly this and not be guilted into thinking they "need to do" or "must do" something for younger generations.

        In the case of "want to do" through the noble desire to contribute as much as possible to help other people, or perhaps stay active and interact with people to avoid loneliness, or even "like to do", then volunteerism is a great thing. It comes with rewards like self-satisfaction, inner peace, increased positive energy, etc. However, the decision to engage was made by the elder as an attempt to contribute and should not be an expectation, or worse yet some dependency associated by non-elders.

        I deviated from the herd a bit because I wanted to point out that the skills possessed by elders are very valuable and the market should provide for transitioning these skills to the next generation, not rely on them to be gifted by elders. The people that have developed these skills throughout a life time do not "owe" anybody these lessons. In the case of volunteers, they are being willfully and charitably donated.

        In many jobs or professions, the daily frustrations and grind wear away at the patience and tolerance of workers. This an unfortunate mental health by-product of competitions, managers trying to get all they can form workers, increases in complexity, regulation, legal risk and costs. So when employees can leave, they often do so and do not look back, taking with them their skills and knowledge. In the partnership I describe, the idea would be to recognize the value of the potential contribution, and provide incentive to continue to work by gradually reducing some of these unwanted by-products, thus promote the transition of skills and knowledge by a more stress free work environment.
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          Mar 1 2014: I understand. Some retirees do offer their services after retirement on a consulting basis. This may be of value in the workplace or not, depending on the individual. For many professionals approaching retirement, they announce attention to retire months in advance and spend the last months on the job implementing a transition plan that brings along the employees who will stay or the new hire coming in to replace.

          Younger people often look forward to their turn to step into roles the soon-to-retires have managed.
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    Feb 28 2014: Reminded me of Sugata Mitra's "Granny Cloud"

    Here in Britain, I put out a call for British grandmothers, after my Kuppam experiment. Well, you know, they're very vigorous people, British grandmothers. 200 of them volunteered immediately. (Laughter) The deal was that they would give me one hour of broadband time, sitting in their homes, one day in a week. So they did that, and over the last two years, over 600 hours of instruction has happened over Skype, using what my students call the granny cloud. The granny cloud sits over there. I can beam them to whichever school I want to.

    (Video) Teacher: You can't catch me. You say it. You can't catch me.

    Children: You can't catch me.

    Teacher: I'm the gingerbread man.

    Children: I'm the gingerbread man.

    Teacher: Well done. Very good ...

    SM: Back at Gateshead, a 10-year-old girl gets into the heart of Hinduism in 15 minutes. You know, stuff which I don't know anything about. Two children watch a TEDTalk. They wanted to be footballers before. After watching eight TEDTalks, he wants to become Leonardo da Vinci. "

    http://www.ted.com/talks/sugata_mitra_the_child_driven_education.html
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    Feb 25 2014: One such organization is called RSVP- I think the largest in the United States http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/senior-corps/rsvp

    Here is the program mission and design: http://www.nationalservice.gov/sites/default/files/documents/rsvp_handbook.pdf
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      Feb 25 2014: YUP.....good program Fritzie. My volunteer position with United Way and RSVP was as a volunteer coordinator matching potential volunteers with volunteer opportunities. I was a volunteer, volunteer coordinator....LOL:>)
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    Feb 25 2014: Tim, I have fought to engage this concept for a long time. There is some fringe work that seniors can do. I coach, do search and rescue, etc ....

    I went to the state and said that I could run the mower on the side of the road and keep the road clean as a trained volunteer. They said no.

    I offered to do some work aound the school .... the union raised ... Ned

    I offered to do test analysis and the teachers objected.

    The sad truth is that everyone at every level is protecting their rice bowls.

    The teacher once OWNED the classroom ... then the principal ... then the superintendent ... then the school board ... then the State supertendent ... now the Secretary of Education who has the total control of the almighty educational dollar OWNS the classtroom. All in my life time.

    I went to a fast food and the kid at the counter had a bleeding ring in his lip ... I ask to see the manager ... another kid also with body rings ( the manager ) ask me "What up"? I left.

    Everthing is so automated that this is the type of management we are seeing .. cheap ... with no training and no authority ... other than making a deposit. There is now a order taking machine at McDonalds in order to eliminate the register job ... pay the preparer ... want $10.10 minimum wage ... more positions will be elliminated.

    So here we are back at the original question ... we, seniors, have a hard time even giving away our services and sharing our experiences and knowledge. We can however, babysit, change diapers, and clean toilets.

    Be well. Bob.
  • Feb 24 2014: Those seniors who are religious and involved in the church can definitely contribute. They already have a set up in the church that has degree of credibility and trust.

    (1) Baby sitting. This is a huge problem for low income and single parent. This can have real economic benefit as well as on the growth of children in the situation. Children also can be helped doing home work, basic training etc.

    (2) Seniors are knowledgeable in the area of their church, Most restaurants discard all the eatable food once a week. With some arrangement with church donations from well to do and seniors ability , this food can be used to help feed hungry and homeless or kids, with arrangement and management,

    (3) Younger senior in collaboration with young adult can arrange to be helpful to older adult in cleaning their homes, help buy groceries and giving them some company. All badly needed services for their happiness.

    I am shying away from more sophisticated areas since they get complicated and often can get controversial fur to differences in philosophy and culture and differences withing church members.
  • Feb 24 2014: Here in Glendale AZ, we have an "Adult enter", open 8am to 5pm so caters to retired. It is in the same building where there is a youth daycare. The seniors are encouraged to volunteer at the daycare center. This is across the street from the public library where school kids are encouraged to get help with homework from senior citizen volunteer tutors.

    It is not much, but it is something.
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    Feb 24 2014: Great question Tim.

    I'll chime in on mentorship. I think having someone with good work and life experiences to go to for advice is always wonderful. Although I'm at the point in my career where I mentor a lot of people I always have mentors I can go to myself. I continually seek out new mentors and generally people are really happy to share their experiences and give good advice - as long as you are listening to them and they know you value their advice. Most of these people are 50 plus.

    I always learn something; sometimes something big, sometimes just a little, and sometimes just a different perspective.

    I sometimes think the younger generations feel like they don't need mentoring - they should do it alone and don't need anyones advice.
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      Feb 25 2014: Great points David. I agree that our learning and growing should never stop. I have realized I can gain wisdom and insight from all age groups. I also think that no one has all the answers. Often insight can come out of a casula conversation.
  • Mar 20 2014: We should first of all get rid of our attitude to senior citizens: there is this idea that anything that is old is outdated (this then includes anyone that is old); and that they are old-fashioned and that there is some new thing happening in the world that they dont know.

    It's human beings in the 17th century, and it's still humanity in the 21st.

    I think communities should have a database for senior citizens who choose to volunteer for services along the line of their experience.
    A Yoruba proverb says "Ile Ife was built on the wisdom of the young and the old" (Ile Ife is the ancestral home of the Yorubas).

    Senior citizens may not be teaching/mentoring on the latest resources in their field; but their knowledge of the timeless principles that works should be put to use.
  • Mar 20 2014: Our miserable fiscal situation is already doing that. The "senior citizens" are doing everything they can to not "retire" and have to live on dog food.
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      Mar 24 2014: Yes Bryan but it's not that bad if you pretend it tastes like chicken.
  • Mar 12 2014: Sharing technical ideas are always useful especially when derived from years of work, experience and innovation. As a scientist and clinician, a top US company I used to work for tapped the resources of near-retirement seniors by ‘picking’ their brains and ‘passing on’ the knowledge of these seniors to young interns.

    However, I hope such transfer of ideas are limited to technical ideas or carefully monitored for redeeming moral value. Many social ideas being held by certain seniors are best left to die with them.
  • Mar 6 2014: I am one of those seniors and I have found that elementary schools open volunteers with open arms but middle and high schools are very much against volunteers except in special situations. I have started to volunteer at a parent/children crisis center helping with homework, tutoring, and teaching parents

    I agree with Fritzie some people do not have the personality to tutor
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    Mar 3 2014: You just raised a outstanding point that had been overlooked in the past. I never had an experience that any one, or any government had valued the resourceful senior citizens,or considered them as a hopefully contribution to the society when they are old and secluded. This is a field that can be significantly developed into a robust aspect of our society.
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    Mar 2 2014: This remains a big challenge. Seniors use the good old newspapers, radios & TV's. Later on, they will adapt and love the programming. Learning stops or knowledge controlled by the providers of the media.

    This is a complicated topic.

    Seniors still have the experience, and if we can enhance that experience with information and technology, we can still be very effective. Our problem today is how to teach also the younger generation to love the good old culture. Example farming. The young has access to new info to improve the good old farming technics...

    I don't know. In my case, I will learn as much as I can learn to become effective extension worker to focus on climate adaptation and preparedness... This is enough challenge specially with access to new information... be able to help the younger generation in any way I can.

    I have learn a lot with technology (in my standard) this few weeks and later would go out and make it happen. Small initiatives, locally driven.

    Thank you so much. Facebook was like an electronic album and a diary.

    Thank you once again.

    Sincerely yours,

    Nelson
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    Mar 2 2014: Hi Tim, I really do a multitude of different things here in the school district. I had a great career in doing many different types of jobs big and small. Mentoring is something that surprised me more than most things that I have done in my retirement. So many more kids today are from broken, dysfunctional or just one parent homes. None of the kids that I have mentored to have had any kind of morality training so if anyone ever wonders why stealing, murdering, cheating on spouses or so many other bad things are so prevalent today, I suggest that, that could be a very plausible reason. This free society we have to day will bury us in the long run. I was born in the early 40's and I have seen a great change occur in this country. Not for the better. Do you remember when you could leave the house and not lock it up and the same with your car? Well that is kind of a rhetorical question but it makes the point I was trying to make before and now. Things have changed. When we look around the world we can see further evidence of what I am talking about here.

    I am doing my best in the schools to get kids to stay in school. We are the lowest ranking school district in the USA, here in Las Vegas, Nevada. We also have 8500 homeless kids here and many of them are from across the border. That is the school districts estimates. I know teachers that pool their money each week to buy food and clothes for these kids. If they are in school that means they do not have a job to go to for trying to help themselves. They are good hard working kids with no families. My heart is broken every time I meet one of them in school. They live in communities in storm sewers and we have 320 miles of them. That is very dangerous in flash flooding times. Yet many Billions of dollars are gambled away in the Casinos here every month. I work for the talented and the not so talented kids here in this school district. Bye,
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    Mar 2 2014: Most of the comments so far have focused on outreach to students. I think veterans prgrams are also needed.
    Younger veterans need help networking, translationg their military skills and job hunting.
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    Mar 1 2014: well sounds like an good idea, To get anyone to intiate interest in paying attention or generate attraction in the old the stigma of negativity towards all things old needs attention. In fact this is the only real block in the intended exchange>So I will list all the negative concepts regarding the old,mythic,real,and gossip (i will be the critic,yuk) and if you problem solve or prepare to face problems with a pro future bias the idea will seem more attractive> But the first thing that comes to mind with old is attitudes of sexism,racism,rigid style,immersion and struggle with chores,time,limited resources,aging,poor health,lack of adaptibilioty,shorter,physically inferior,less intelligent,more corrupt ,I see these ideas promoted through education,film.childrens narratives,social memesas the slippery slope away from your generous idea> If you could list CURRENT media concepts,movies ect that speak highly of older people, you will have more success...but media blitzes only support newer,faster,modern currently..so the old would i n fact become conterculture?
  • Mar 1 2014: I totally agree that tapping the skills and talents of seniors is very important. As an 88 year old, I'm a retired minister. I devoted my last ten years to writing my third book, Mending Our Broken World: A Path to Perpetual Peace. I also founded and now direct an organization dealing with world peace, Perpetual Peace Initiative. We work on UN reform seeking to eliminate the permanent veto power in the Security Council as well as eliminating national armies and weapons of mass destruction. We invite people of all ages, especially seniors, to get involved: www.mendingourbrokenworld.com.
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    Mar 1 2014: Hi Tim. I had a lifetime of electrical construction experience and now that I am retired I have lots of time to donate as a school tech support person in my school district. I sit on committees, create school science projects, mentor and I write articles about what we are doing here in this school district. I don't know how much longer I can do this work but I enjoy it and I even teach SolidWorks at the College of Southern Nevada. I also write as a member of the SolidWorks Blog Squad Team.
    You are correct about us older people, but I am only 70 so maybe there are a few more years I can do this. I am also a member of the NAF or National Academy Foundation. I wish I knew how to get in touch with you to show you the many PDF's I have composed about the things I do here to promote STEM programs. When I give my talks to the schools I stress staying in school, getting a good education and having an interest in technology courses. A few of us do this so maybe we have done some good. Senior power is there but mostly unused. Sincerely,
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      Mar 2 2014: Richard - That sounds great. Sounds like you have achieved this with a variety of activities.
  • Feb 28 2014: I say leave them alone… they've done enough.
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      • Mar 1 2014: Brendan,

        I'm not sure what set you off… but my reply isn't slamming senior citizens. My point is… they're people who have already put in a lifetime of work. They don't need to do anything… other than kick back and enjoy the world they help create.

        If they want to continue working … great. But I know many people that worked so they could enjoy their golden years. Nothing wrong with relaxing.

        It won't be long and I'll be getting the discount.

        [btw I've run marathons, and I'm in the gym 3 to 4 times a week … so be careful what you assume]
      • Mar 1 2014: No problem Brendan. I've never owned a gun, I don't play first person shooter games and I'm certainly not a sniper. It's unfortunate you interpreted it as a terse comment. Written language can be abstruse… I'm always happy to clarify. Take care.
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    Feb 26 2014: Like word-search is mentally healthy in preventing memory issues, I suspect the same would be true for transcribing.

    So imagine if seniors could go online and transcribe scans on old documents of their interest.
    We currently can find passenger list for early American ships, what cargo did the Mayflower carry? What did the early court, universities, railroads, car makers, military, airlines, magazines, ambassadors, medical and other documents say?

    There are tons of printed and handwritten documents waiting to be rediscovered.
    I know there are documents that I would love to read, transcribe and learn from, and it is a sure bet there are senior citizens that would also.
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    Feb 26 2014: To keep it simple. Step one: visit your grandparents. Step two: Listen to your grandparents. Step three: see step one.
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      Feb 26 2014: I’ll add “Record” conversations with grandparents, I just started doing my family-tree and digging into my ancestry and wish I had recordings about their lives. It is too late for me to do my grandparent, so if you can ""DO IT!"" Your great great great grand kids will be grateful.

      P.S.
      For inspiration consider my mother’s mother (1888-1949), to put those years into context:

      • 1888 - Kodak camera begins amateur photography.
      • 1895 - Wilhelm Rontgen discovers x-rays.
      • Theodore Roosevelt became president 1901 when she was 19.
      • 1903 -Wright Bros. first flight/airplane
      • 1914 - World War One begins.
      • 1939 - World War Two begins

      I can only imagine the stories.
  • Feb 25 2014: When somebody reaches the age of 60 they and we should call them Elder instead of Mr and Mrs.
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    Feb 25 2014: Tim,
    As an empty nester senior citizen that meets some of your requirements, you have pointed out a great resource.
    I have attempted to do on my own some of what you have addressed. From my experience, there are a couple of hurdles to overcome.

    1. Many of my contemporaries just don't want to be bothered.
    2. Many of the venues don't want to be bothered. I offered to help at my grandson childcare facility. I couldn't get there from here. There are laws. Background checks, fingerprints and fees. The childcare owners would have to hire me and be responsible.
    3. Then ... You are too old. You don't understand modern technology, Things are different now.. I said " Civil Engineering (my bag) has not changed in a few thousand years... (I am prone to exaggeration)

    What an I saying.... there are a lot of hurdles to overcome. There maybe a few venues that can and will want to use the experience we have gathered.
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      Feb 25 2014: Mike - I do expect significant hurdles. The most challenging area, I suspect, would be with providing services for kids. I envision this as a resource outside the school systems. I don't see this as program that would offer certification of any kind.

      I'm just getting started with this idea and have a long way to go.
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        Feb 25 2014: Tim,
        Services for kids will be the most challenging. Good luck. Maybe someone will have great ideas.