This high school student founded a nonprofit to bridge the generational divide in tech.
Sharon, an 18-year-old from California, got her start in technology by studying robotics at iD Tech Camps held at Stanford University. Attending iD Tech not only showed Sharon the power technology can have, but also helped connect her to like-minded students who love learning just as much as she does.
That exposure to tech and other students who love it was more than enough to spark Sharon’s imagination, as well as a love of community. It didn’t take long for her to channel her passions into founding her own nonprofit called Technior.
“During my freshman year of high school, my grandparents asked me what the ‘Internet’ was,” Sharon explains. “I realized there was a generation gap in technology that needed to be bridged.”
Technior—a clever combination of the words “technology” and “senior”—is an organization that pairs high schools with senior centers so teenagers can offer technology lessons to an older generation. Technior has held more than 45 large-scale tech workshops for seniors in Southern California alone, as well as utilizing individual volunteers across the U.S. and abroad.
“One of my biggest joys from starting a nonprofit is witnessing the increasingly positive impact the organization has been making on people’s lives,” Sharon says. “Our classrooms are always filled with exclamations of joy as our seniors’ confused frowns turn into huge smiles when they learn how to Skype with their grandchildren, email long distance friends, and so much more.”
It’s a relationship that empowers the seniors, providing a world of endless communication and zero worries about social isolation. But is also empowers the youth providing the lessons—they learn about the trials of aging in our modern society, and how it feels to truly care for a generation of older adults.
“Founding and directing Technior has shown me the power of young people to make an impact on the lives of others, and how cross-generational relationships can strengthen communities,” Sharon says. “It has become my mission to unite youth to improve the lives of the older generation—and vice versa.”
How did a beginning in robotics lead to an instructional non-profit?
“I have always been fascinated by the innovation of technology,” Sharon says. “Learning about the science behind Robotics opened my eyes to a brand new world of possibilities.”
Her advice for all students interested in tech is simple yet powerful: “Pursue your interests with passion! Don’t be hesitant to reach out to others for support and guidance.”
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