NHS Volunteers With Senior Citizens

With April approaching, the Hopkinton High School National Honor Society Chapter prepares for its annual Senior Tea, and for a new event, Senior Technology Night.

Photo: Ben Scire Smiling in the atrium of Hopkinton High School
Photo by Sophie Schneider
President of the Hopkinton National Honor Society, Ben Scire stays busy volunteering in his community

NHS has hosted the Senior Tea for over 10 years in the HHS Cafeteria. Participants from Golden Pond and the Senior Center come for tea, snacks, games, live music, and conversation.

NHS advisor Sara Williams said, “The event has really transformed in the past few years. We added live music recently, and all these little improvements have definitely increased interest.”

NHS President Ben Scire explained how the conversations he had at this event were fascinating, surprising, and stimulating.

“I spoke with a women for about an hour about all the extraordinary places she has traveled to in her life, and then I talked with this man about his time serving in Vietnam.”

“It was far different from the stereotypical conversations kids might expect,” NHS member Gabby Thompson said .

Williams spoke about how she thinks this event is mutually beneficial for the guest and the volunteers.

“On one side, the senior citizens get to do something fun and new with young people. On the other side, the students get priceless wisdom ⎼⎼ the senior citizens simply have lived longer lives and have more experiences to share because of it.”

“The senior citizens I talked with gave me their undivided attention,” Thompson said. “It’s refreshing to have conversations that aren’t rushed or behind a screen.”

Photo: Gabby Thompson smiling at the camera
Photo by Sophie Schneider
NHS member Gabby Thompson said she would recommend for those available to attend the event

“One woman actually gave me a pie recipe that I tried and loved. She also gave me some great advice on stuff I was dealing with at the time,” NHS secretary Anagha Kumar said.

In addition to her leadership role in NHS, Kumar has been involved with the program Golden Youth during her time in High School.

“Our goal is to bridge the gap between teenagers and senior citizens because both groups have a lot to learn from each other. We work under the three pillars of technology, companionship, and public policy,” Kumar said.

After seeing the success from last year’s Senior Tea, Kumar came up with the idea to hold another event where high school students would give senior citizens basic technology lessons.

“I have never thought of myself as being tech-savvy,” Kumar said. “But volunteering and teaching mini technology lessons with Golden Youth has never felt intimidating and has been extremely rewarding.”

“I usually teach people how to use FaceTime so they can talk to their grandkids. The stuff I have taught is pretty basic but extremely helpful for people who didn’t grow up with technology at their disposal,” Kumar said.

Photo: Rachel Gooley smiling while she types on her computer
By Sophie Schneider
Senior Rachel Gooley volunteered regularly at Golden Pond last year

NHS member Rachel Gooley explained how she has volunteered at similar events and how she looks forward to the NHS Senior Technology Night.

“I volunteered at Golden Pond in Hopkinton a lot last year. One of the times, I set up skype for this woman so she could call her family that lived far away. After that, the conversation just flowed, and it gave us a lot to talk about.”

“I attended the Senior Tea last year and had a lot of fun, but I am definitely looking forward to the Senior Technology Event more,” Gooley added.

Projected for Saturday, April 28, Senior Technology Night will be held at Fairview Estates, an independent and assisted living facility located in Hopkinton.

Kumar, Scire, and the other NHS officers are planning the event and coordinating senior citizen participants through the program Golden Youth, inviting neighboring elderly homes to attend.