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Student-run, Md. nonprofit teaches elderly how to use technology

Hannah Docter-Loeb, right, helps Nicki Lagoudakis of D.C. learn to use her iPad. (WTOP/John Domen)

WASHINGTON — It seems like children are always on their phones, effortlessly tapping away with their thumbs, as if they’ve grown up with that technology — which they have. Others have a difficult time learning how to use that technology, since they grew up in homes with party line phones around their neighborhood.

Bridging that gap is the reason some Bethesda Chevy-Chase High School students started a nonprofit called GTG Tech or Generation to Generation Technology.

“A lot of people want to use technology to connect to friends, family … and they don’t exactly know what the first step is,” said Kaela Marcus-Kurn, one of the founders of GTG Tech. “It’s very easy for us. I mean we all use our iPhones every single day. We all have computers.”

They offer their expertise for free. Seniors just need to sign up ahead of time. That’s how Nicki Lagoudakis of Chevy Chase found herself getting iPad help from Hannah Docter-Loeb.

“This is so exciting after having been so frustrated with all of this,” Lagoudakis told Docter-Loeb after getting her various email addresses consolidated in her tablet.

“That’s what we’re here for,” replied Docter-Loeb, before plowing into the next step. “We go back to the home screen … and then there’s email right there on the bottom.”

On the GTG Tech website is a whole list of help they can provide.

“A lot of people come here for iPhone help,” Marcus-Kurn said, “And texting, calling, emailing, using Google. People come for iPads and tablets, which are the same thing. Or, people will bring laptops, computers, how to use Excel, how to use Word, how to use any apps, any programs. A lot of people have a hard time understanding what apps are and how to use them.”

Marcus-Kurn said that seniors of all levels of expertise are welcome to get help.
“Everyone needs help on different levels,” she said. “We’ve seen all types of people that need assistance.”

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