Tech savvy Youngsters helping out local seniors

If you are struggling to master the digital technology side of life, a group of Cockburn’s tech savvy youngsters is on hand to help.
The City of Cockburn has embarked on an eight-week trial of Youngster.Co which provides seniors citizens, and even those for whom English is a second language, technical support to operate their small digital devices. 
Youngster.Co is a unique intergenerational social enterprise that operates across Australia by linking up young people 16 years and over with the digitally challenged in a model that ensures the youngsters are paid for their time and expertise.
Cockburn was WA’s second local government to sign up to the enterprise. Co-founder Tony Rothacker said several other organisations in the Perth metropolitan area had shown an interest in helping youth gain employment experience by connecting seniors with the free community service.
More than 20 Cockburn youngsters have registered with the social enterprise and in its first week, six young people helped 24 seniors with tasks on their digital devices, including uploading the State Government’s new ServiceWA app to show proof of COVID vaccination.
Of the Cockburn youngsters already registered, some speak Cantonese, Mandarin, Tagalog, Punjabi, Afghani, Hindu and Mauritian Creole and are available to further support the City’s diverse community.   
The City encourages more young people, and clients in need of their techy know-how, to register at Youngster.Co. Seniors can also book online through Cockburn Libraries for the free 30-minute sessions.
City of Cockburn Library & Cultural Services Adult Services Coordinator Deborah Rigby said feedback from seniors after the program’s first week was very positive, with several relieved to receive help uploading the ServiceWA app to their mobile phones.
“The youngsters were very patient, kind and compassionate in helping the seniors and I’m sure the seniors didn’t hold back in sharing some of their lifelong wisdom too,” Ms Rigby said.
“The City is funding the program and we are really proud we are able to support our community in these interesting times.”
Enterprise Co-founder Tony Rothacker said the program provided job opportunities for youngsters and empowered older people to gain confidence when using technology.
“By bridging the gap between the generations, youngsters share their digital skills and vitality while elders pass on some of their stories and wisdom, and both groups gain a greater appreciation for each other,” Mr Rothacker said.
“The main drivers behind starting this enterprise was the link between youth unemployment and youth suicide.
“Studies show that among the root causes of youth suicide is too much time spent on social media. This program enables young people to make use of their digital technology skills in a meaningful way that enriches their community, and by connecting two vulnerable groups at risk of isolation.”  
Free weekly sessions in February and March will be held the following locations:
  • Tuesdays –10am-12pm Spearwood Library, 9 Coleville Crescent, Spearwood
  • Thursdays – 10am-12pm Cockburn Seniors Centre, 9 Coleville Crescent, Spearwood
  • Saturdays – 10am-12pm Success Library Community Room, Level 1, 11 Wentworth Parade, Success.

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City of Cockburn
Whadjuk Boodja
9 Coleville Crescent,
Spearwood 6163

PO Box 1215, Bibra Lake DC,
Western Australia, 6965

Office opening hours:
8.30am to 4.30pm
Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays)

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Cockburn Nyungar moort Beeliar boodja-k kaadadjiny. Koora, yeyi, benang baalap nidja boodja-k kaaradjiny.
Ngalak kaditj boodjar kep wer kaadidjiny kalyakool yoodaniny, wer koora wer yeyi ngalak Birdiya koota-djinanginy.

City of Cockburn acknowledges the Nyungar people of Beeliar boodja. Long ago, now and in the future they care for Country.
We acknowledge a continuing connection to land, waters and culture and pay our respects to the Elders, past and present.