Kids Teach Seniors Skills

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For most of us fortunate enough to have had grandparents in our lives growing up, we know how valuable their experience and knowledge was to us.  In the small town of Steele, North Dakota roles have been reversed, and you’ll find some grandparents are the ones learning from the skills and knowledge of local children and appreciating every minute of it.

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“There’s your four pictures that you selected…”

Thirteen-year-old classmates Shalee (Shay-lee) and Ciara (See-air-uh) are helping Beverly and Daryl Schoepp (Shoe-oop) with their computer.

“You’d have to close out of this…”

Across town, Mathew and Ashley are helping Phyllis and Shabel Freije (Shay-bell Frig-ee) much the same way.

“Christmas, Lake Isabel…oh here we go, thank you for seeing that.”

A year ago, both couples had limited knowledge of operating a computer.

“Technology is changing so fast…”

That all changed when an after-school program, sponsored by the local United Methodist Church, offered 6th graders free computer classes.  After 100 hours of training, they were able to turn around and train others.

Perry Schnabel / Pastor, Steele United Methodist Church: “It gives them a real opportunity to do something separate in the community from what other kids are doing.”

“Just move one down…”

Having this kind of help has enriched the lives of everyone involved.

Phyllis Freije:  “Anytime you can interact with younger children, it just makes you younger.”

Robert Lower / Program Sponsor and Co-Director, Children of the Harvest:  “We have nothing but wonderful feedback from the seniors about not only the importance of the children working with them, but what an improvement in their lives it has been to have the ability to use that technology.”

“Okay, should I go there?”

At times they find the computer intimidating, but their young teachers don’t feel the same about working with them.

Ciara Janke:  “It’s great knowing you can teach older people something they don’t know and that they need to know to help themselves get by in the computer world.”

“You know I wouldn’t want to use this big print or anything like that.”

The plan is that someday, everyone in town will be part of the computer world…no matter what their ages.

“You’re fantastic girls.”


Steele United Methodist Church is in its third year of this program. Once a student successfully completes the 9-month church-sponsored program, they get to keep the computer they have trained on during the course of the school year.