2013-14 Odyssey Angels

Project Connect and Engage Odyssey Angels on stage at Opening Ceremonies.

The group was joined by one of the seniors they helped in their community, Susan Maxwell.

This year’s selected group is the Rockford Odyssey Angels from Michigan. Not only did this group come up with a creative way to help neighborhood senior citizens, they put in many hours, forged friendships, and made a real impact on the senior’s lives with Project Connect and Engage. The group visited a local retirement home and taught residents how to use technology to connect with their family and friends outside of the facility. They wanted the residents to be able to interact with the world even if they couldn’t physically leave their homes.

The group visited a couple times a month, spending time with the seniors and teaching them how to use various devices to reach out to their loved ones. They found the relationships they were building allowed the seniors to feel comfortable and more willing to ask questions about technology. They even started making requests for online banking, social media, streaming video, and more.

They felt the change in the meetings from the seniors being timid using the devices and the group having to make up searches and issues in order to teach, but now the seniors meet them at the door opening up about their pressing needs, and being eager to use the tablets.

The group also fundraised and donated 18 tablets to the seniors so they can work on their skills and keep in touch with family and friends. Over the course of the year, the Rockford Angels and the seniors at the retirement home formed a close bond that has led to the continuation of the project. The seniors refer to them as “their angels” and because of the group, have made great strides in reaching out safely and confidently to the world.

The Rockford Angels saw the need for seniors in their local community to become more connected to their families and the world around them. These angels accomplished this and more by not only teaching seniors the tools they need to do so, but by forming deeper connections themselves with often overlooked members of the community.

Here's a video the group made to describe its project: