A Little Help‘s mission is to help older adults thrive by connecting neighbors across generations.
A Little Help (ALH) is looking to connect with DU faculty and students on the following projects:
- Research Design: What does it take to get younger volunteers (20 – 30 year olds) involved with ALH and sustain their participation? Currently we have a hard time retaining young volunteers. Many of them sign-up to volunteer, go through the required background check, but communication drops from there.
- Information Dissemination: We need help reaching younger audiences (20 – 30 year olds) to recruit as volunteers. How can we use social media to market our organization and recruit volunteers? How can we reach and engage college students?
- Information Dissemination: We would like someone to review our website and marketing materials and make recommendations to improve our messaging for a diversity of audiences. We have a wide demographic of potential volunteers but we are not sure what works and does not work for them when viewing and using our website/materials.
- Program Evaluation: We would like to have students look at ALH’s process in how we intake applications, match folks etc. If possible, we would like someone to assess our Help Connect online system. Is the system and process working well for volunteers? Can we be doing something better?
- Program Evaluation/Creative Work: We want help assessing our volunteer orientation process and training video. We want to collect feedback from our volunteers to learn what questions they need help answering and what methods of teaching/communication work best for them. How can we improve our orientation and training processes (e.g. have a weekly open house for volunteers to chat and ask questions)? What is the best way to get our training out there and encourage interaction among volunteers?
Generation Exchange‘s mission is to make technology easier, more accessible, and empowering for older adults through the one-on-pairing with student mentors in workshops. We also strive to create meaningful experiences for our mentors as they benefit from the wisdom and experience of their older counterparts.
Generation Exchange is looking to connect with DU faculty and students on the following projects:
- Internship: Work with Generation Exchange to design and implement a free pilot workshop at DU where older adult (40+) mentees are paired with DU student volunteer mentors to learn about technology of interest. From this pilot, we would like to explore potential for creating a DU Chapter that sustains free technology workshops through the year.
- Program Evaluation: We would like to improve our understanding of mentee needs and better inspire knowledge exchange between mentees and mentors. Some questions we want to explore include:
- How can we enhance our Mentees self-assessment of which tech questions they will explore with their Mentors? We wish to evaluate this approach in order to discover if we and they are missing additional fruitful areas of exploration because they “don’t know what they don’t know”.
- We’d like to evaluate and improve our process of pairing the needs of our self-directed older-adult Mentees with the resources and interests of our younger-adult Mentors.
- We’d like to evaluate our approach to reversing the Mentor / Mentee roles in our workshops and design more powerful techniques from that evaluation.
- We’d like to evaluate our current Mentor and Mentee outreach methodologies in order to design for broader application of outreach methods in other communities.
- Research Design: We would like to conduct psychological research that explores Karl Groos’ notion of “the pleasure at being the cause” as it pertains to our older adult mentees by exploring their desire to have the ability to cause predictable effects in their world. We believe older adult’s loss of roles and technological literacy is a precursor to detachment from one’s own identity and thus subsequent experiences of isolation and depression. We wish to explore and possibly prove that: 1) Our assumptions about the correlation of “caused effect” with optimism versus isolation and depression are valid, and 2) Our techniques and methodology for enhancing “the pleasure at being the cause” are valid and effective.