Mentor Up Cleveland – Thoughts from Vanessa Jackson

Being a part of the Mentor Up team in Washington, D.C. is great! We get to be at ground zero for something really exciting. But sometimes I am curious to know what Mentor Up looks like in other places. I often wonder, “Is all of this making a difference?” “Is what we are doing really reaching people?” “Are we actually making an impact?” And just when these thoughts begin to creep in like a pestilence to tear you down, WE GET JUST WHAT WE NEED!

Meet Vanessa Jackson! She is our Mentor Up coordinator in Cleveland, Ohio. It warms our hearts to see Mentor Up in action outside of our immediate grasp. It reassures us that what we’re doing here, is helping make a difference out there.

Here’s what she has to say about Mentor Up in Cleveland:

“I am a fifty something woman who loves technology and computers.  I am also the Mentor Up Coordinator in Cleveland Ohio.  Our Mentor UP team was established through an AARP foundation grant.  We are located in the Magic Johnson Community Empowerment Center at University Settlement. This is the ideal job for me.  It combines my love of technology, community service and project management.  I love guiding the Millennial Digital Mentors as we share knowledge and get my peers connected to the world.                          


Mentor Up Cleveland – Music with Seniors

 I am not new to technology. My career started when I wrote code lines that corrected magazine subscription labels.  The codes were translated to computer punch cards that created commands for computers that filled up rooms. I somehow gravitated to the IT folks at every job I had. I have worked at a couple of tech related companies in different capacities. I finally ventured into the realm of technology as a user group member and later as a business analyst.   

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Cleveland Community Family Festival

Women my age are the target audience for Mentor Up. There is a wide range of interest in, and knowledge of, technology among Baby Boomers. I email with my aunt in her 70’s, text my nephew and chat on Facebook with my niece in the Peace Corps in Africa.  I am excited about working with the Digital Mentors here in Cleveland.  We are doing both one-on-one and classroom training sessions. The team has given a tech expo and “game show” at the AARP Foundation SCSEP office.  We even “chaperoned” and photographed the “senior” Prom for University Settlement’s Adult Wellness group.

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Cleveland Community Family Festival

I am learning so much about the future of technology through my daily work with the Digital Mentors. They have given me a fresh perspective on technology and its uses in day-to-day life. We work in Google hangouts and keep or documents “in the cloud”.  I am even back in school studying IT service and support. The world of technology is wide and deep, and changing at light speed. Everything is at your fingertips. Mentor Up is helping me to keep connected through technology, community, education and employment.”  


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