Angel’s Farewell Address

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Mentor Up would be nothing without our amazing youth volunteers! You all are the heartbeat of the Mentor Up movement. That said, we always like giving a shutout to those making a difference.

Angel Rodriguez is one of those people.

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He was part of Mentor Up in Cleveland this past summer. Angel enjoyed it so much that he gave a speech at a community event this month to talk about his experience!

Angel has had a propensity for service work since he was young. He has been working with University Settlement in Cleveland, a community center that provides social services, for the past five years.

He joined when we was only 13 years old, and is now 18. He has enjoyed “every minute, every second, and everyday of it.” For Angel, The Settlement has helped him become the young man he is today.

 In Cleveland, Mentor Up narrowed in on reducing the impact of isolation on the Baby Boomer & silent Generation populations through the innovative use of technology.

In his speech, Angel talked about how he was able to transition what he gained from University Settlement, over to Mentor Up.

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Angel (left) holding a Mentor Up sign

“As a Digital Mentor I have had fun teaching and learning different kinds of technology. I did everything from: setting up an email account; to teaching how to use YouTube; to helping start a home based business. I enjoyed using these skills to lead game shows, and interact with people of all ages in the community.

“In my time with Mentor Up I have learned more about technology than I ever could dream of. It has been a great adventure and a wonderful experience. I wish I could do this all over again.” 

Thank-you Angel for your summer of service!


AARP DC Round Two!

Mentor Up and AARP DC are back at it!

Because our first tech workshop was so successful, we decided to hold another.

Just like last time, youth volunteers and older adults convened at Mentor Up headquarters in Washington, DC, for a little one-on-one technology training.

AARP DC volunteer Rocci Fisch has the whole story here! Check it out.

Here’s a little snippet of it:

“Recently for AARP DC there was a volunteer reversal. Youth volunteers from Mentor Up taught older adults the basics on how to use and navigate the Internet using desktop computers, laptops, smartphones, and tablets. Older District residents also learned how to use Microsoft Office applications, establish an email account, use search engines, take pictures using a smartphone and send email with attachments. A few even dabbled with social media and how to find their favorite radio or TV station online.

The one-on-one instruction session for the older learners was admittedly more helpful than reading a how-to guide to gain knowledge of modern technology and use it in their everyday lives.


Sylvia Ross learns how to manage online searches

 ‘I used to be the teacher, now I’m the student,” said retired educator Sylvia Ross, a member of the National Retired Educators Association (NREA). “I don’t like not knowing what’s going on, so I wanted to take this training.'”

(Finish the story here!)

Mentoring At The Movies

On September 17th AARP Colorado hosted a two-part event: a premier of the Cyber Seniors documentary, followed by a Mentor Up technology session after the screening. The day was filled with laughter, bonding and new appreciation of the older and younger generations.

Senior Program Specialist Cathy Lasnik of AARP Colorado was there to record all the happenings!

“The event had a large turn out, hosting 130 older adults in the new media facility at the Fort Collins Senior Center. After the documentary, 120 seniors decided to stay for the technology session .

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We collaborated with Colorado State University to provide 25 student volunteers as mentors.

One-by-one, students worked with the seniors until all 120 had an individual Mentoring session. This surprisingly worked out well! Everyone happily mingled while waiting until it was his or her turn.

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The feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive. Both older adults and students enjoyed the time with each other. The event was so successful we even got press coverage by CTV11, Rocky Mountain Collegian and the Colorado News Connection!”

Here are some comments we hard from the seniors:

“This is so great.  My kids don’t have the patience to sit down with me and help me understand this stuff. To have someone take the time and help you is so wonderful.”

I feel like I have had a ton of stress removed because now I know how to work this thing.”

 “I have had this FitBit for 3 months.  I have tried asking lots of people for help with it.  I have taken it to several places to get help.  No one was able to show my how to work it or get it setup.  My Mentor did that for me today in 20 minutes!!

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Here was some volunteers said about their experience:

“I asked each person I worked with at the end of our time if they had any advice for me.  I got some great advice on living life and making the most of my life.”

 “That was so much fun! I have a new appreciation for older people.”

 “I’m going to go home and call my grandma and help her.”

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 “The comments speak for themselves.

All who were involved asked us to please do this again.”

San Diego!!!

Last week Mentor Up was in San Diego as part of AARP’s Ideas@50+ National Member Event. If you remember our trip to Boston, this was very similar!

 We know that not everyone was able to make it to this event, but that’s okay! Lina had enough fun for everyone that couldn’t make it!

Here’s what she has to say about it:

“I was not only impressed that our volunteers wanted to spend their free time working with older adults, but also that they wanted to be inside … um HELLO! It’s San Diego! Beautiful. Sunny. Refreshing beaches.

The shear fact that these young people showed up is why they receive my admiration (because those beaches sound a little too tempting to me)!

 I am always amazed when I see the younger and older adults interacting successfully. Both age groups demonstrated high levels of patience and tolerance when working together.


Mentor Up Youth and AARP members at the TEK Pavilion

This is not only good news for Mentor Up; it’s good news for me!

Being a vulture volunteer supervisor, hovering over the students to make sure everything is going well, is no fun for anyone.

 That said, being able to step back and watch all of the hard work and planning come to fruition is the best part of my job. Seeing the smiles on the faces of the students and the AARP members is why we work diligently to make these experiences happen. 


Millennia Is Back!

This is my third time as a Mentor Up volunteer coordinator at an AARP Member Event, and once again, I received nothing but praises about what a tremendous help the students were! So to echo the praise – THANK YOU!

THANK YOU to all of the student volunteers from San Diego!!! 🙂


Lina and the Mentor Up student volunteers

Seeing Mentor Up in action makes it all worth it, and it wouldn’t be possible without you!

How To Live Forever

How long do you think you’ll live for?

Until 70?



How about 100?

Kind of a morbid question, huh? How can anyone know?

It seems like there is always a ready supply of tips and tricks on how to stay healthy and live longer. Fad diets. New vitamins and supplements. Better ways to stay fit. The list could go on forever. Some of the new techniques may work, but others are as promptly retracted and replaced as quickly as they come about.

So how do we determine what works and what doesn’t? How do we live longer!? What’s the secret?!

Dumb luck?


Is there really a formula to do this thing right?

As of recently, there may be.

A groundbreaking study called “90+” is looking to answer why some people are living longer than others. CBS’s 60 Minutes put together an amazing segment called “Living To 90 And Beyond,” featuring the findings from “90+” – which is tracking the health habits and lifestyle choices of thousands of people since 1981 – as well as profiling some of the study’s participants.

The findings of this study are undoubtedly producing valuable information that will benefit our society. However, what’s even more interesting than the research is the people that are participating.

People like 96 year-old Ruthy Stahl, who is probably more active than you, describes life before refrigerators. People like Jane Whistler, who has watched the evolution of our society over the past 100 years. People like Ted Rosenbaum who went face-to-face with Joseph McCarthy and had to testify at the McCarthy Hearings. And these are only a few examples of the kind of people spotlighted in this story. People who are living testimonies of our history and have a wealth of knowledge to pass on.

It is definitely worth the time to take a look at the story.

“Living To 90 And Beyond” (Part One) –

Interviews with the participants –

A Summer of Mentoring

Summer is coming to a close.

Unfortunately, this farewell of summer also means the farewell of many wonderful Mentors. Yes, this makes us sad; but it also allows us to reflect on the real difference Mentor Up makes.

And we get the info straight from the source!

Taryn Mitchell is one of our Mentors in Cleveland. Her experience is a testimony of Mentor Up’s influence. Although brief, her time with Mentor Up really resonated!

“My name is Taryn Mitchell. I have been working with Mentor Up at the Magic Johnson Community Empowerment Center at University Settlement for about 5 months. It doesn’t seem that long, but in that short period of time I have experienced a lot. I’ve had the chance to work with Baby Boomers and even Millennials. 

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By joining the Mentor Up team I have learned that a lot of people in the older generation (Baby Boomers), are very isolated from technology. Dealing with the Millennials, I notice that technology can be described as our life. This is the difference between our generations. I deal with technology all the way from my iPhone to my T.V.; by working with Mentor Up I now understand that technology is so much more than what I knew.

So at the end of this experience, by teaching Baby Boomers about the life we live with technology, I’ve learned things myself. I have developed many skills that I can now take with me on my college adventure. I am now more familiar with working with Microsoft Office, marketing, working with seniors and also providing instruction. This experience has been fun and very beneficial to me. I wish all of my fellow mentors success, and to continue teaching the world about how great technology is!”

We realize that our last few posts have all had a similar theme…

Well okay, exactly the same theme. But they are just so heartwarming! Like many things in life, you gain a deeper level of appreciation and gratitude in the retrospect.

That said, we want to thank all of our Mentors who volunteered this summer and we hope to see you all again soon!

Another Farewell ☹

First Theo, NOW HELEN! We’re losing all of our interns!

We knew this was inevitable; but regardless, we are still sad 😦

Here’s what Helen thought of her summer with Mentor Up:

“My first internship EVER has unfortunately come to a close. Being new to the whole intern experience I didn’t know what I would gain from this; I just knew the first day I stepped foot in the AARP building I was as nervous as anyone could be. This opportunity definitely opened my eyes to more of the working world and what it might be like after college.

As an intern I didn’t just shadow someone all day, listening and observing; I was asked about what I thought, what kind of ideas I had and how things could be improved. I was allowed to think. It appeared my opinions actually mattered. I felt that I made an impact on not only people aged 50+, but also with youth. Through tech. workshops, I have seen youth mentors not only helping people 50+ but also learning from them, laughing with them and just connecting with them on a more personal level.


Theo (left), Helen (middle) and Barrett (right)

Not only did I gain experience, but also I gained more knowledge, skill, and most importantly connections that will last even after I graduate college! It has truly been an amazing experience and I am sad to go!

Thank you Mentor Up for the fabulous opportunity to learn and work with some great people.

But now it’s goodbye and back to school! WAHOOWA!”




Tech Workshop at Mentor Up Headquarters

On July 31st Mentor Up held two technology workshops at AARP’s National Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Youth volunteers helped older adults learn the necessary skills to use today’s latest technology.

Seniors participated in a computer lab workshop to learn how to use desktop applications and other computer skills.

There was also an opportunity for the seniors to bring in their own devices to learn more about the tech in general, and how to operate applications.

Older adults like Earlene Jenkins showed superb progress in enhancing her knowledge of the computer, and expressed her appreciation to the youth-volunteers from Campfire USA.


“Both of the men were very knowledgeable and very accepting of where my knowledge base was. They found out my knowledge base and then taught and it improved from there.” –Earlene Jenkins

 The older adults weren’t the only ones who enjoyed themselves. Even the youth-volunteers expressed their excitement!

Check out what they had to say about teaching these skills:


“Mentor Up showed me that through teaching others, I can learn too.” –Will McAvoy

“It was fun and I felt like I actually helped.” – Victor Tamba


“It feels good to inform senior citizens to the new technology.” –Jasmine George


“Mentor Up has been a great experience for me. It is great to see the members growing their technology skills for machines in this generation.” –Jane McAvoy

Mentor Up at its finest!

Thanks again to our awesome volunteers!!!


It’s Theo’s last day with Mentor Up! We can’t believe the time has gone by so quick!

Here’s what he thought about his time with us:

“I cannot believe my internship is over! 

It feels like it was yesterday when I was asked to write a post introducing myself and describing what Mentor Up meant to me.

Now I am writing my final post before heading back to college ☹

The typical “intern experience” thought by many people is being the coffee guy/girl; one who only prints and copies random documents; a person who does the things other employees just don’t feel like doing…

My experience was the complete opposite!

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Barrett (right) and Theo (left). MOS filming at UMD

I was able to work on meaningful projects and events with the most AMAZING group of people… And I’m talking about the Mentor Up team of course!

What inspired me the most during my time with Mentor Up was realizing just how many older adults were considered “struggling” in today’s world- whether it’s through hunger or technology. I’m talking about MILLIONS!!!

That’s what motivated me this summer!

I earned an internship that not only gave me workplace experience, but one where I was also able to impact the lives of many those struggling Americans. I believe I was able to make the lives of older adults better. I was able to put smiles on many faces.

My experience with Mentor Up was truly memorable, and I hope to share what I’ve learned with my friends and family!”

Working. Mentoring. Learning. – Routinely Mentoring Up

The other day Mentor Up had conversation with Brooke Libby, the SNAP Outreach Coordinator in Maine. Brooke gave us a little insight into what she does, and why she does it.

By the end of the conversation, it was very clear to us that Brooke is Mentoring Up…whether she knows it or not!

Here’s what she told us:


“I got involved with this because I feel SNAP is a worthy cause. Hunger is a worthy cause.

Most of my volunteers are young people. I think the youngest was 21, and the oldest was in their 60s.

Most are in their 20s and early 30s though.

 I think volunteers get involved because they really believe that hunger is a serious issue, especially related to the older population. It’s a silent issue. They are really concerned with getting people connected with the services that will help them.

 I think the volunteers’ experience has been positive. Client surveys are at 100% …and they keep coming back to volunteer!

Seeing people Mentor Up in any fashion is great!

But we especially love seeing people Mentoring Up as part their day-to-day lives.

These people innately reach out and help without thinking twice about it.

Brooke and her volunteers are those types of people!

“I really do enjoy the work. For me, I am very passionate about this issue. This is one way I can do my part in my community.

 The best thing about it is working with the clients.

Working with people and hearing their stories.

It’s amazing to get to know these individuals. It’s the people that make this job worth it.

 I’ve also always worked with kids. That’s part of the reason I took this position.”

Brooke goes on to tell us that working with older people is a much different experience than working with younger people.

“There are challenges and benefits to working with both.

Technology can be an issue.

Situations are more complicated.

 You have to be more sensitive with how you communicate.

But you hear some amazing stories. They’ve experienced so much and you can learn so much from them.

I’m only 23 and I can learn a lot…”