Children Senior Citizens Unique Ministries


We are high school students in Ft. Myers who volunteer our time to teach computer literacy skills to senior citizens in local retirement homes. It was originally our way of getting community service hours, but we’ve now developed some special bonds and amazing friendships with these seniors.

We’ve also had the opportunity to help these seniors stay connected with loved ones, engage in online activities and gain a sense of independence and self-confidence in a technology-driven society.

We named our high school group, CLEO, Computer Literacy Education Outreach. We tell people that our goal is to bridge the digital divide between generations by empowering senior citizens with skills and knowledge needed to navigate today’s digital world.

This all started when we were in 10th grade. My friend Aaron and I were laughing about how much our grandparents struggle with technology. And then the thought hit us: why don’t we do something about it.

My grandparents live in Trinidad and Tobago, and Aaron’s live in Israel. We realized we couldn’t help our grandparents very often, but we set out to find a way to help other grandparents in our community.

We sent an email to Brookdale Senior Living which is located down the street from our high school. It went unanswered for some time. We were determined to follow up on our idea, and it was before we could drive, so we walked there one day after school. We met with the director and asked her if she thought her residents could use some help with learning how to better use their phones, computers and email. She was thrilled with our offer.

It began with three of us going over to Brookdale once a week. We were astounded how many residents there wanted our help; the needs were much more than the three of us could handle. So we started to recruit some of our friends to join us each week.

The word kept spreading. We started getting calls from other senior living centers in our area asking if we would help their residents. We would go to Brookdale on Wednesday afternoon and to a second senior living center on Saturday morning. But we couldn’t get to the others which broke our hearts.

So we came up with the idea of forming CLEO “chapters”, not only in Florida but in other states. We now have 15 chapters and have received inquiries from a number of other areas. When we get an inquiry, we say you simply need to do three things: recruit a good number of volunteers; meet with the director of the retirement home to talk about what you can do; and then have a “Meet and Greet” with the seniors of that home to get comfortable and get a feel for their specific needs.

The seniors are so appreciative of what we teach them. It’s a joy to see their faces light up when they overcome these technical obstacles. Some of them want to pay us for our time but we don’t take any money for this. We started doing this for high school community service hours but it’s now developed into something much more: we all look forward to each day we get to go there because of the friendships and the connections we have made.

It is amazing how much joy we get out of talking with these seniors. We laugh with them, joke with them and we actually learn a lot from them since they share some advice about life. We all feel great inside every time we walk away from a meeting with them.

Jesus wants us to use the talents He has given us. Jesus was always helping others and He wants us to make a difference. If we can use whatever skills we have and make the lives of these seniors a little more enjoyable, that just seems like something Jesus would want us to do.

When we were putting this together, there were some obstacles. We had a lot of demands on our time with high school stuff, sports and just life in general. But whenever we faced an obstacle in getting this idea going, I relied on my Christian faith to get us through.

The seniors say that we are a blessing with what we are teaching them. I can honestly say that just being around them has been a wonderful blessing to me.

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Gay Dahl
    August 10, 2023 at 10:58 am

    So awesome! Such a blessing for what you are teaching the seniors but the friendship, attention and time you give them is priceless! So many seniors have no one. Teaching them also allows them to reach out to family and friends they might not be able too. So proud of you all and God bless !

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