Connected Nation

From Baby Boomers to Gen Z: How teens are using their tech skills to help older adults

April 06, 2023 Jessica Denson Season 4 Episode 10
From Baby Boomers to Gen Z: How teens are using their tech skills to help older adults
Connected Nation
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Connected Nation
From Baby Boomers to Gen Z: How teens are using their tech skills to help older adults
Apr 06, 2023 Season 4 Episode 10
Jessica Denson

On this episode of Conneced Nation, we focus on a new program that’s flipping the script by asking teenagers to TEACH adults in their communities new skills.  It's called Teens Teach Tech.

Learn how the program uses technology to empower older adults, how the teens themselves benefit, and what you can do to get youth in your community involved. 
Related Links:
Learn more on the Teens Teach Tech webpage  
Follow Teens Teach Tech on Instagram
Additional free programs: Digital Literacy and LearningAchievery

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

On this episode of Conneced Nation, we focus on a new program that’s flipping the script by asking teenagers to TEACH adults in their communities new skills.  It's called Teens Teach Tech.

Learn how the program uses technology to empower older adults, how the teens themselves benefit, and what you can do to get youth in your community involved. 
Related Links:
Learn more on the Teens Teach Tech webpage  
Follow Teens Teach Tech on Instagram
Additional free programs: Digital Literacy and LearningAchievery

Jessica Denson, Host (00:07):

This is Connect to Nation, an award-winning podcast focused on all things broadband from closing the digital divide to improving your internet speeds. We talk technology topics that impact all of us, our families, and our neighborhoods.


On today's podcast, we focus on a new program that's flipping the script, so to speak, by asking teenagers to teach adults in their communities new skills. We'll ask how the program works, including what teens are doing to empower older adults through technology, how the teens themselves will benefit, and what you can do to get teenagers in your community involved.


I'm Jessica Denson, and this is Connected Nation. I'm Jessica Denson, and today our guest is Jessica Goldson, who is the outreach coordinator for the recently launched teens Teach Tech program. Welcome, Jessica.

Jessica Golson, Teens Teach Tech (00:56):

Hi, Jessica. Thank you so much for having me today.

Jessica Denson, Host (00:59):

I feel like we have combined powers and we're like the JessiCAI for today's podcast. <laugh>. I love Jessica <laugh>. Um, uh, sorry I couldn't help myself. Uh, let's begin at the start, uh, give us overview of what, uh, teens Teach Tech is all about.

Jessica Golson, Teens Teach Tech (01:18):

Uh, my pleasure. Uh, teens Teach Tech is a fun and customizable community service program that empowers youth all over the US to go out into their community and help the adults around them develop their digital literacy skills. The content that we provide covers basic technical skills from using computers and mobile phones to understanding the importance of cybersecurity. And it gives these ninth through 12th grade students an opportunity to use their Superior Tech skills for good,

Jessica Denson, Host (01:46):

And they really are superior. Right, because these kids have been learning this since they were out of the, um, in the crib, so to speak, right?

Jessica Golson, Teens Teach Tech (01:54):

Oh, absolutely. I've, I say it all of the time that the teens know way more than I do, and I should just kind of like humbly step aside, <laugh>,

Jessica Denson, Host (02:02):

Uh, why do you feel it was important to get teenagers involved in this program?

Jessica Golson, Teens Teach Tech (02:07):

There are so many layers to this question, Jessica. Uh, but essentially it came down to two really important facts. I think, um, first and foremost, today's youth are our future. There's no denying it. They're the leaders and the pioneers of tomorrow. Whatever technology's gonna look like in the future, they're gonna be the ones to grow and foster, develop, improve, and create those new forms and all the ways that we're gonna use it. They will also be the leaders responsible for educating the world on those changes. So we not only acknowledge this, but we find kind of a thrill and knowing there's still so much yet to come when it comes to technology. And with that in Mind, connected Nation is seeking out these great minds now while they're still young and challenging them to get started today in hopes that we can be a positive part of their journey and promote their success.


On the other side of this reality is the saddening fact that far too many youth are not encouraged enough to pursue, pursue their talents, whether they're living in poverty and feel like they have no opportunity to thrive. They have preconceived notions of what their future will look like and how they has to turn out or simply lack the confidence to believe in their own ability. Youth in our nation should be waking up every day feeling worthy and gifted and empowered, and, and many just don't. This program is a way of meeting them right where they are, no matter where they live or what they do, and giving them that sense of worth. We support them in their mentors as they set goals based on their own abilities and show them just how much power they have in their hands by encouraging them as they go out and change the lives of the adults in their community. Very rarely do we as a society openly acknowledge just how much impact the youth have on the older generation in a positive light. And this initiative is all about highlighting just that.

Jessica Denson, Host (03:57):

I really love that, the idea of switching the, the traditional roles, uh, you know, empowering teenagers to show, you know, that they have something to contribute to the world and to society and to older generations. And, uh, right now there's a lot of older generations who are looking to be able to communicate with kids and, and, and other populations, and this whole idea of social isolation and that kind of thing. So I think I, I applaud that. One thing that's important about this program right, though, is that teenagers don't just work alone, that they work with a mentor. Share how that works in the community, how that kind of breaks down.

Jessica Golson, Teens Teach Tech (04:35):

Absolutely. So I tell everybody, in order to have a successful teens teach check program, you need a few things, uh, as far as what order you need them in. It's a little like what comes first, the chicken or the egg <laugh>, and I'll, I'll explain a teens teach tech team needs a mentor that's an adult who oversees the team. Sometimes the mentor is the one who comes to us first. They're inquiring about ways to get a team started or how they can help their school organization, club or what have you. These are generally teachers, um, and they work within the school district or in a youth organization where they're already seeing these teens and their abilities, and they're just trying to find ways to foster and encourage that. You also need at least two ninth through 12th grade teenagers students to make a team. And on the flip side, chicken, you know, or eggs, sometimes the teens are the ones that reach out first.


They know that they want to do a project, they're looking for opportunity, but they're not sure who their mentor is going to be. Either of these avenues is a good place to start. It doesn't matter if it's the mentor comes to us first or the teens, you know, there's definitely opportunities there. The third thing that you need is a community. And this can look different to each team depending on where they live. And the greatest need for some of our teams, they're working within their immediate and extended families only. Their community is very small, very private, and their families are the ones that, that they really need the most help when it comes to technology. And the teens are suited and kind of already in position to help them. Other teams focus on their school's parent teacher association or a senior center in their town. There's no specific group or groups of people they have to teach. The focus is just adults who need this help, and each team will want to assess their environment and determine which community members or groups they plan to educate.

Jessica Denson, Host (06:25):

So really it could be parents, teachers, nonprofit orgs, um, after school programs. Really, it's just really anyone who wants to work with teens or do they have to be in a certain type of setting?

Jessica Golson, Teens Teach Tech (06:37):

Well, the cool thing about the mentors is they can be just about anyone. Like you said, teachers make some of the best mentors because they already work with these ninth through 12th grade students. They have access to the teens. Um, generally they see those teens that are in groups or clubs, and they oversee them. And so they have a sponsorship connected, but they're not the only ones. Youth program leaders, church groups, teen centers, homeschool co-op leaders, coaches for sports teams, parents, these are all viable mentors. You, you just need to have a passion for helping your community and working with the youth in order to be a mentor.

Jessica Denson, Host (07:11):

And, uh, what kind of role do those mentors have? Because it is, we do wanna keep it, you, you are keeping it in the hands of the teenagers. Correct. But there is some guidance or, um, share exactly how the role of the mentor is and what the kids do when they're, they're, they're guiding this program

Jessica Golson, Teens Teach Tech (07:28):

For sure. So the mentor really has a fairly simple role for most of the teams. They gather a group to make a team, or like I said, sometimes the team finds them and says, can you please sponsor us? Um, then they help guide that team on what community members they want to teach, what subjects from the content we provide best meet the needs of those communities, and they oversee the planning and execution of the project. Our goal is to have the teens be the leaders in these projects as much as possible. A good mentor is gonna foster ideas, encouraging the teams to be creative, but practical and support their project with positivity. Some teams, they need their mentor to handle the more adult things like renting out a space for a workshop or using the funds that we provide to secure equipment. But the majority of the pro, uh, project to include all of the training is actually completed by the teams.

Jessica Denson, Host (08:20):

And just one point I I think it's important that you said the funds that we provide, so CN provides all the funds for this, correct.

Jessica Golson, Teens Teach Tech (08:27):

So, uh, for the most part, yes. Uh, there's no cost, uh, obligation to, um, any of the teams. We provide up to $500 worth of startup funds to help get them going. And, um, then also kind of encouraged through support and content that we provide for their project.

Jessica Denson, Host (08:42):

And that's through a grant. I know a lot of people think when say no cost or free, they, they wonder, oh, what's the, what's the, uh, catch? But it's all through a grant that we've, that CN Connected Nation has, has gotten from at and t, right?

Jessica Golson, Teens Teach Tech (08:55):

Right. Yeah. So the money question is always a big one, right? And mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, honestly, it's my favorite thing to talk about. Um, the easy and quick answer is there is no cost, and that's usually what people wanna hear upfront. Um, but the why there is no cost can sometimes catch people, like you said. So teens use Tech is 100% grant funded by at and t through the year of 2023. So December 31st, 2023, this whole entire year, we have these funds that at and t has provided. This means a program can be implemented in any community who want to make a difference. Not only does it come at no cost, but like I said, we as Connected Nation because of this grant, are able to provide up to $500 in startup funds to each team for their projects. So if a team needs a computer or a hotspot, uh, funds to cover renting a space for their project, or they just want cool t-shirts made for their team, the startup funds can cover those expenses.

Jessica Denson, Host (09:51):

Yeah, that's awesome. I think that's, that's such an important point. Um, so let's, let's get back to the program itself. What types of skills would teens be teaching older adults?

Jessica Golson, Teens Teach Tech (10:01):

Well, first, let me preface this by saying all of the content provided covers the most basic skills. I think a lot of people when I've had this conversation kind of get caught up thinking that they have to be just absolute tech wizards to do this, and that is not the case. We're talking rudimentary how to use your computer, what the functions are, um, what the internet is, what all the tabs mean, very basic skills. And these teens use the content that we provide, but they kind of get creative with it, which I think is the, the most fun part of this. Uh, once they pick a few topics they wanna teach, they decide how they wanna present it, and they even customize it to match the need of their learners. Uh, for example, the six current topics we provide content on, um, our internet basics, computer basics, cybersecurity, email basics, mobile device basics, and video conferencing.


And all these courses were developed in collaboration with the Public Library Association and at and t. So some really legit, like easy to follow based on a learner type of, uh, good quality content. And they come in simple PowerPoint slides, it kind of spell everything out. So if a team wanted to have fun with their learners, which that's what most of our teams are, are doing, they could teach them, um, mobile device basics, for example, and cybersecurity take parts of both of those lessons. They go over how to use their phone and a lot of different apps that are available while stressing the importance of staying secure and aware of potential threats on the internet while using those apps. And then once their training was complete, the team could have their learners download a video making app, hand out a fun script maybe that the teens have made. Um, and they've created this to engage their learners, work with them to record acting out that script, using that app, that video making app, and then show their learners how to upload their completed movie to the cloud and share it with their family and friends for a good laugh. I love the opportunities for creativity here.

Jessica Denson, Host (12:01):

Yeah, it seems like it's kind of an open, it's pretty much endless in the different things that can be done. So obviously you're, you may be dealing with some people who have some skills, but not very much, or, or a lot of this may be new to them completely. So what does the training really look like?

Jessica Golson, Teens Teach Tech (12:20):

<laugh>, I hear this question a lot, and you'll probably make the same face as everyone else when I answer, but the reality is there's no real answer to that question, <laugh>,

Jessica Denson, Host (12:30):


Jessica Golson, Teens Teach Tech (12:30):

I can't see all of you people who are listening right now, but I can feel your looks of confusion. So I'm gonna clarify. Um, the nature of these projects allows for each team to address their community in whatever ways work best for them. So for some teams, this is a one day event held at a school or public center, like a library. They spend roughly two to three weeks designing their training day, making flyers to invite the community, and then they show up on that day. They hold their workshop, they do their training, they take some pictures, video clips, et cetera, um, for social media. And then they're done. Their surveys, which we'll get into a little bit later, are tallied up and they're finished with their project. That's the end. Other teams plan multiple workshops. So for these, their project can take two to three months instead of two to three weeks. They might hold an open house at their school one night with some training and then schedule a day at their local senior center a few weeks later, depending on the community size, the team size, the timeframe, they have available resources and need. Each team's timeline looks a little different. And we work directly with each team to help them decide what their project will look like, because our job is to support them no matter what approach they take.

Jessica Denson, Host (13:42):

So if, I know you mentioned the cost earlier, um, that there is some costs that that connected nation, uh, picks up, uh, through the, the grant that we received through at and t, um, it was a startup cost, but there is, there's more to this, right? There's some incentive to it as well.

Jessica Golson, Teens Teach Tech (13:59):

I mean, yes. I mean, the, if you're gonna target teens, you know, you gotta have money involved. <laugh>, like, I can't get my teens to do anything unless I offer some kind of payment plan and to, to get them to cooperate. So we know that, you know, when it comes to motivating, um, most of the youth in, in our nation, money is a big factor. So where the startup funds kind of cover things at the beginning, so you know, whatever they're gonna need for the project, uh, there's an incentive that's built into this program for each team for once the project is completed. So when a team is finished with our project, the, uh, items they purchase with our startup funds are theirs to keep for fu for future use. By the way, we don't ask for that stuff back. Whatever they've purchased to use now belongs to that team, organization, those teens, whatever.


But to top it all off, once a team starts training each learner, they help take a survey, like I touched on before. These surveys are simple in nature. They're about three to five minutes max, and they just cover what content was taught to them by each team at the end of a team's workshop or series of workshops. If they're doing a couple, we tally their total survey count and our program pays out $10 per learner to that team maxing out at 200 learners or $2,000 if you speak in money like most teens do. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, this is not only a great opportunity for the teens to benefit the community, but it doubles as a fundraiser for these teams too. That $10 per learner can be pooled to go back into their school club, a sports team, organization or program to fund competitions much needed equipment field trips, or the teens themselves can be the recipients of the money distributed amongst the team by the mentor to be used as each youth seems fit, whether it be to go towards their college fund or, uh, it's their summer job. They do it over the summer and that's their summer job, or just a chance to earn money to spend on a luxury item they may not otherwise have the opportunity to indulge in.

Jessica Denson, Host (15:56):

So now you've peaked some interest, even more interest <laugh>. Uh, how should a person or group get involved in bringing teens Teach Tech to their, their area?

Jessica Golson, Teens Teach Tech (16:05):

So this is actually very simple. The first step is to visit our website, and that's Teach Tech. And then you scroll down to the bottom of the page and select Learn more. This leads to a short little interest form, which comes straight to me. I'm the project lead for this initiative, and I work with every team in the nation. So from there, once I receive that, we'll set up a time to discuss your team community, what your plans are for a teens teach tech project, and just make sure that I can answer any questions that you may have, um, but also, you know, kind of help you figure out what your next step will look like for that

Jessica Denson, Host (16:41):

Team. And I will include that link in the description of this podcast just for everybody's ease. Uh, but again, it was connected Teach Tech. Um, this was just launched this year. Um, so do you have any groups yet that are already getting revved up and have any idea of some of what they're doing?

Jessica Golson, Teens Teach Tech (16:59):

Ah, yes. Okay. So I'm so excited. Uh, the timing of this could have been better. Uh, we just had a team in Long Beach, California complete their first project over the weekend. Our Bakerville team had two high school students, and they taught a lesson on web conferencing at this massive outdoor community event over the weekend. So they essentially had a booth set up, and they just, anybody that came by, they were like, Hey, can we help you learn a little bit about how web conferencing works? Um, each of the teams that involved, there's, there's two of them. So they can, you know, have a team, but each of these teams is hoping to go to college and, uh, really could use any additional financial help they can get. So for this particular team, both of those teenagers are splitting the incentive funds now that their project is finished to add to their college fund.

Jessica Denson, Host (17:45):

That's fantastic. That's great.

Jessica Golson, Teens Teach Tech (17:48):

Exciting <laugh>. Um, and we actually also have two more teams, both of which are from the same organization in Louisville, Kentucky, that are holding an event at the end of this month. So they're next up to bat. Um, what's really cool about these teams is, uh, the organization is Adante Hispanic Achievers, and it's a nonprofit organization that focuses on encouraging Hispanic youth to achieve their goals. Because the teens teach tech materials are offered in both English and Spanish. This predominantly Spanish speaking community can benefit from this program greatly. Their youth are bilingual, but most family members, the adults in the family are not. And that affords a unique opportunity for the teens to make a huge difference in their own family's lives. By teaching them through this workshop, these teams will be able to help their own parents with things like applying for jobs online, seeking out educational opportunities.


Um, these will directly affect the lives of the teens and their siblings. It's gonna be such a wonderful event. Many of our Connect Nation staff are actually gonna be there for the workshop, myself included. And the funds from these workshops, unlike, you know, our California team that are splitting it amongst the teens, these funds are going back into alante's program. Um, and that program helps the Hispanic families in their community. So it's, it's a mission oriented project for them. They've got two different teams, two different sets of, of youth that are gonna be doing these projects to bring in as much funds as they can to help their program. And honestly, these are just two examples of some of our epic why's from our teams and just how flexible this program can be for each

Jessica Denson, Host (19:24):

Team. Yeah, I'm excited about the Louisville, Kentucky one since that's where I live, and I will actually be covering that. <laugh>, um, <laugh>, uh, this isn't the only programs teachers, parents, and other organizations can leverage for free thanks to the at and t donation, correct?

Jessica Golson, Teens Teach Tech (19:40):

Yes. At t is really passionate about digital literacy, and they know here at Connected Nation we not only want to help get people connected, but ensure they can take full advantage of that connection. So not only is at and t the funder behind teens Teach Tech, but they've also funded a similar initiative. The Digital Learning and Literacy program, just like teens Teach Tech, the adults in the communities across the nation are being taught these basic tech skills using that same content that's created by the Public Library Association. But this digital learning and literacy program takes place in the libraries, in these public libraries, and is taught directly by Connected Nation staff. And as part of this partnership with at and t, connected Nation has become a promotional partner for their new online classroom aid platform called the Achiever. At and t has gathered the talent of many well-known content creators like Khan Academy and Girls Who code Scratch Bottle, cartoon Network, and so many more to develop a K through 12 learning experience. Unlike any other I've come across, the achiever is free offers fun, familiar characters, discussing a variety of educational topics from like core subjects to social emotional learning and coding. And the videos come with free lesson plans that include activities to engage the students and the platform's a pretty neat tool that can be used in the classroom or at home, or both. In the case of homeschool families, it's definitely a musty for all types of educators and a resource we are very proud to share.

Jessica Denson, Host (21:05):

And again, I will share links in the description of this podcast for, uh, our audience's ease and checking those out. Um, although there are other programs, as you mentioned, your focus really is on teens Teach tech. Uh, why does this program in particular speak to you?

Jessica Golson, Teens Teach Tech (21:21):

For me, um, personally, I can see all angles at play here. I am a mother of six, three of which are currently teenagers. Lord, help me, um, <laugh> and I can say without a shadow of a doubt, as I'm sure every person will agree, being an adolescent is just rough, man. Like, it's just tough. It doesn't matter where you live. Teenagers have it hard and they deal with some of the biggest emotions as they climb this awkward hill toward adulthood with very little preparation for what has to come. Any chance I can get personally to remind my own teens and their friends and, and really any youth, um, that they can make a difference right now, that they're important right now, despite how hard life might hit them. I'm gonna take that, you know, and the, the advancement of technology is great for a ton of reasons. And, and we know most of them, you know, we, we work and see this on a regular basis, but when it comes to the world of, of teenagers, it brings dangers of the media along with it. So for me, encouraging safe use and application of technology is vital to today's youth. They're immersed in it. So focusing on the good they can do with it should be a top priority for

Jessica Denson, Host (22:35):

Everyone. I think that's fantastic that it's important to acknowledge the importance of having technology in our lives, but also to be aware of the pitfalls that are also a part of that world. And, um, you know, all of us at Connected Nation, our mission is to expand access to all people, but at the same time, being aware that there are, there are things that we should all know in ways that we should protect ourselves. So I think that's really important and I think it's great that kids are involved in that. And, uh, and you were about to say on the flip side,

Jessica Golson, Teens Teach Tech (23:09):

<laugh> yes. Ugh, this is the embarrassing part. On the flip side, <laugh>, <laugh>, I need to admit this out loud, but I can very much relate to the struggling adults everywhere. No matter how many times I personally look in the mirror and tell myself I'm still young and hip. Uh, I grew up in the nineties, which means I'm part of a pretty awesome generation that's seen both ends of the spectrum when it comes to tech, right? We didn't have cell phones when I was a kid or a computer at my house, but by the time I graduated high school, we had both of those. Still, I find myself asking my kids for help all of the time when it comes to my smart TVs, my smartphone, my smart cart. Honestly, it seems like every machine in my life is smarter than I am these days.


So I am grateful to have my own teens to guide me, but not everybody has that. And the idea of admitting we don't understand something everybody else seems to know how to use is not only intimidating, but it often feels pretty darn impossible. And so I have actually a really good example I wanted to share, um, of just really how impactful this program could be. Uh, my aunt is in her late sixties, and she's a widow and she lives on her own. Uh, and she has, she has been struggling for a long time with moving her life from, from paper to the computer screen. Um, most recently I've had to help her set up a banking app on her phone. Um, she's, she's lived in the same town her whole life, and she's always used the exact same bank in that hometown. She's cast her, cashed her checks every month, and, and she uses that cash to pay her bills in person, drive up tellers, whatever.


Uh, when the pandemic hit, it changed everything, of course for everybody. But suddenly she was kind of stuck in, in a very confusing world with no idea how to do anything. As as, I mean, a huge part of our population was, and she ended up with late fees, almost had her car taken back because she didn't know how to pay her bills online. It wasn't like an automatic knowledge she had, and there was no one around to show her how to do this. Unfortunately, this has made her angry with technology, as I can imagine it would. Most of us. Uh, I sat with her and I helped her work out email and her apps and online accounts so she wouldn't run into that same problem again. But she still has a really poor taste in her mouth when it comes to technology as many do, who see it as a problem and not the

Jessica Denson, Host (25:28):

Solution. That's a really great example. Um, I mentioned earlier the idea of digital isolation for older adults. Um, that became a real issue in the pandemic. There were several studies done. We did a, we actually did a interview with Oats, um, who deals with older adults. And the, the idea that they, they were doing something, you were doing something in a certain way for so long and then suddenly were forced into this other space, it created a lot of isolation, created a lot of confusion. So, um, I think that's another good reason this program is happening and, uh, that I'm really happy to see it. Um, how do you hope that this teens teach tech impacts those involves from the mentors to the teens, to those who are learning these new skills?

Jessica Golson, Teens Teach Tech (26:15):

Uh, well, Jess, I can appreciate what you just said. Um, and I, I remember when all of those studies were coming out, um, about just kind of this, this isolation and, and this gap in, in knowledge and how it's affected everyone. And honestly, for me, sending these kids out into the community for teens, teach tech is less about technology and more about relationships and trust and impact. These generations are going to learn from each other during these workshops. The adults will be taught much needed tech skills, some vital to their success and survival in this modern world. Like we've touched base on from basic troubleshooting of their devices to navigating the internet safely, protecting their identities and finances. Many adults are unknowingly putting themselves at risk every time they open their email. So teens Teach Tech is gonna help to bridge that gap of understand, understanding, aiding those in need so that they can schedule telehealth appointments, pay their bills, connect with their family, and stay up to date on the world around them.


And while the training is geared towards educating adults, these teens are gonna learn so many things too. For example, it's difficult to teach another person, no matter how simple they, they think the subject matter is. No matter how much of an expert you are, breaking it down so that a different person who probably learns differently from you has, you know, a different background than you so that they can understand it. And that, that takes patience and, and understanding, you know, and that's gonna be, I think, a beautifully humbling, humbling experience for our teens. They're gonna experience the aha moment when their learner, someone they would usually see as a superior to themselves, finally catches on to what the teen is teaching them. And they're excited that they get it. You know, that's, that's a thrill. You know, I taught school for a couple of years and, you know, just every time my students would understand, especially my, the ones that had struggled for so long, it was just like a rush of endorphins. And the teens are gonna get to experience that too, which is really beautiful. I, I honestly think you're gonna see some youth decide they want to become teachers after this, that they enjoy being part of that magic. These kids are gonna change so many lives simply by taking the time to help another person with something that seems so easy, so automatic to them, but often terrifies those who lack the skills to understand it.

Jessica Denson, Host (28:30):

Yeah. This is year one for the program, the pilot years. So what are your long-term goals for teens Teach Tech, and is there funding beyond 20 24, 20 23? Excuse me. Yeah, <laugh>.

Jessica Golson, Teens Teach Tech (28:45):

No, you're right. This is our pile of year, and it means we're working to increase awareness across the US on what teens Teach. Check is, how it can benefit communities everywhere and why it matters. Uh, that mission is never really gonna go away. That's gonna be our constant mission. But we do have a lot of plans as we grow, uh, because this mission is important and very much needed. We hope to someday have a teens teach Tech chapter in every state. We wanna see teens teach tech clubs in every high school, maybe even expand to middle school in a few years. These projects come with a really creative element that can't be ignored, affording teams in opportunity to use their imagination, and they're smart to design unique ways to positively impact their communities. I don't know about you, but I love a good competition. Our dream is to one day hold national conferences where teams from all over the US present their projects and compete for scholarships and accolades.


We might be on year one right now, but every good idea has a beginning with limitless possibilities for growth. And what we have here is a really good idea when it comes to funding. Well, it, you know, it's the same kind of story when it comes to any nonprofit program, as with anyone that's grant funded. Our dreams are very reliant on others. At t has gotten us here, and they're loving our success stories and hearing about every new team that pop up across the nation. We hope to procure funding for a lifetime of impact through this program. We're always looking for people who are just as passionate about digital literacy as we are and willing to help us in our mission.

Jessica Denson, Host (30:13):

Yeah. So anybody listening who'd like to fund, uh, definitely contact us, contact Jessica. Um, uh, before I let you go, cuz we could talk all day, of course. Uh, are there any final thoughts you wanted to share on important points we missed that you wanted to touch on regarding Teens Teach at or just something you wanted to leave us with?

Jessica Golson, Teens Teach Tech (30:32):

I, first of all, I just wanna say thank you, um, for doing this. You know, I really appreciate, uh, bringing attention to this program, uh, and really highlighting it. And I, I hope that, that anyone that's out there listening, you know, can really understand the impact that this can have. I know I said a great deal of things and it's been a lot to process, so I'm just gonna close out. I think with something short and simple. Um, there's never been a better time to make a difference than right now in this moment. How you choose to change lives is completely up to you. But if you're interested and looking to have some fun along the way, we would love to be a part of your journey. I wanna challenge everybody who's listening right now to just close your eyes just for a minute and think about teens. Teach Tech for just a second. Unless you're driving, be Safe, <laugh>. Think about all the things I've told you today about this program. Now I want you to picture it in your community. What does it look like to you? You got that picture. Good. Now let's make it happen together. I mean, why not, right?

Jessica Denson, Host (31:37):

Yeah, why not? I agree with you. Well, thank you again, Jessica. I appreciate you joining us today to talk about Teens Teach Tech.

Jessica Golson, Teens Teach Tech (31:44):

Thank you so much for having me. It's been wonderful and I appreciate you.

Jessica Denson, Host (31:47):

Again. My guest has been Jessica Goldson, who is the outreach coordinator for the recently launched Teens Teach Tech program. I'll include links in the description of this podcast to the program's page and Instagram, as well as the other programs that, uh, Jessica mentioned. I'm Jessica Denson. Thanks for listening to Connected Nation. If you like our show and wanna know more about us, head to connect to or look for the latest podcast on iTunes, iHeartRadio, Google Podcast, Pandora, or Spotify.


What Teens Teach Tech is
Why Teens should get involved
How to have a successful Teens Teach Tech Program
Who can be mentors for the program
Why the program is at no cost to participants
What kind of projects are teens doing
How the teens can make money from the program
Other no cost programs
How the pandemic revealed the need for Teens Teach Tech
The future of Teens Teach Tech