2016-06-08 / Home

KBA ‘youngsters’ and Lions Gate ‘oldsters’ learn from each other


Sixth-grader Rivka Hirsch and her grandmother Ruth taught each other during the yearlong “Better Together” program. Sixth-grader Rivka Hirsch and her grandmother Ruth taught each other during the yearlong “Better Together” program. The “oldsters” learned from their “youngsters” how to borrow library books online and to Skype their grandchildren— or at the very least they now know how to turn on an iPad.

The youngsters were turned onto Solitaire. Their oldsters told them rich stories about life in the days of black and white photos.

Over the course of the school year, sixth-graders from Kellman Brown Academy and residents from Lions Gate independent living met 10 times to learn from each other—all thanks to a grant from a generous national donor.

“It was really fun to get to know them,” said Michelle Lerman, a sixth-grader during a luncheon celebration at KBA last week that featured a movie about the experience and the chance to play a final game together using the iPads.

Lions Gate resident Michele Brill agreed, noting that the kids and the lessons made them feel more connected to a world in which it is essential to be able to use technology.

“I learned the ‘Angry Birds’ game just in time for the new movie,” Brill added.

Under the grant, Lions Gate was able to purchase 10 iPads— instantly creating a tablet library for its independent living residents. The students were charged with helping residents build their technology skills, covering topics such as iPad basics, sending photos, avoiding scams, navigating the Internet and using Skype. Just as valuable were the lessons imparted by the oldsters, such as what it was like to celebrate holidays in the old days and the recipes and traditions that still endure. The first year of a two-year program, the interactions will be continuing next year, said Shira Weinstein, KBA coordinator of student services.

Principal Emily Cook noted that KBA and Lions Gate, its neighbor up the road, have a longstanding relationship. Students meet up with residents for Shabbat and holidays and other special programs.

One of the ways the “Better Together” program is unique is that students have worked with the same seniors on a one-to-one basis, developing closer relationships.

For Rivka Hirsch, there was an added bonus that she was paired with her grandmother Ruth. At the luncheon, they chatted excitedly about a relative’s upcoming wedding.

“I loved being able to teach her something she doesn’t know,” said Rivka.

Lions Gate resident Naomi Sengin said she was thrilled to have had the opportunity to get to know the tweens. She was eager for the lessons after her own kids bought her an iPad. In truth, however, she still feels a bit shaky using the tablet and hopes next year’s lessons will hone her skills.

“They’re great kids and they want to teach us everything, but it was a little frustrating because they go too fast,” said Sengin. “If we could only get them to slow down.” s

Return to top