Building a Digital Community House: Bridging Generational Gaps through Digital Volunteer Initiatives

Edited on 02/04/2024

During the first partner meeting in Mollet del Vallès, our DIGI-INCLUSION network Italian partner, Lepida, shared a good practice about a training project on soft skills involving students and elderly, which involves IIS Belluzzi Fioravanti, a high school in Bologna, and Centro Antartide, an organization promoting social innovation in partnership with the Local Health Authority of Bologna.

 

 

In an effort to promote digital inclusion and connect generations, volunteers have come together to create a unique initiative known as "Let's Build a Digital Community House." This project, carried out in various locations, including the Croce del Biacco house in the Graf San Donato neighborhood, a senior center near a school, the Aula Falcone and Borsellino in Borgo Panigale, and the Tassinari room in the Municipality headquarters, demonstrates the power of local-level communication and actuation.

 

 

The initiative encompasses two main modalities: the Digital Support and Digital Practice Group. During these sessions, volunteers assist elderly individuals in resolving their technological doubts, empowering them to navigate the digital world with confidence.

 

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For the volunteers, this initiative has proven to be an educational experience. The class expresses gratitude to the volunteers and teachers and reflects on the positive impact of their efforts. The volunteers conducted interviews to gain insights into the seniors' experiences and gather feedback.

 

“I would recommend this course because students are excited,  

prepared and attentive to the needs of our age.” 

 

Despite the challenges, the overall experience was deemed good. The seniors appreciated the youth's availability and attention to their needs, emphasizing the positive impact of the program.

Motivations for participating in the course ranged from a desire to learn and use phones more effectively to gain more freedom in utilizing technology. The seniors commended the students for their enthusiasm, preparation, and attentiveness to the needs of their age group. The overall sentiment was positive, with participants finding the activity both useful and entertaining.

 

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“Students were very good, helpful and did not show that they were tired.”

The interviews also shed light on the importance of periodic attendance in such courses, emphasizing the ongoing utility of this type of activity. Participants appreciated the opportunity to engage in meaningful discussions and collaborate on defining objectives and strategies for achieving them. The experience encouraged a shift from a traditional teaching-learning dynamic to a more collaborative and intergenerational approach.

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“I solved some doubts I had, I also found fun exchanges with students.” 

 

The volunteers themselves learned valuable lessons, such as the importance of speaking slowly, explaining concepts multiple times, and engaging participants directly to enhance learning. The initiative successfully addressed the issue of confusion within small rooms by creating a structured environment that encourages active participation and discussion.

In summary, these local-level initiatives highlight the positive impact of volunteers bridging the digital divide and fostering community connections. By building digital community houses and promoting intergenerational collaboration, these efforts contribute to creating a more inclusive and connected society.

For more information about this good practice, please watch the video by clicking here.

 

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Submitted by Neus Parés on 22/03/2024
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Neus Parés

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