“Cyber-Seniors” screening kicks off senior-teen mentor program in Routt and Moffat counties

Teresa Ristow

If you go:

What: Screening of "Cyber-Seniors" documentary

When and Where: 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 5 at the Chief Theater, 813 Lincoln Ave., Steamboat Springs and 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 6 at Moffat County High School, 900 Finley Lane, Craig

Cost: $15

— Upcoming screenings of a documentary about a group of teens teaching seniors how to navigate the Internet and social media will kick off a local program pairing teens and seniors in the same way.

“Cyber-Seniors” follows the story of a group of teens visiting a retirement home twice a week to teach residents how to set up email accounts and Facebook pages or play online games and looks at photos of their grandchildren.

A preview of the documentary reveals comical conversations between seniors and teens, including one senior who asks, “Could you explain a little bit about this Face-something and having to be a ‘friend?’”

The preview also reveals the heartwarming transformation the seniors make in learning to use the Internet, video-chatting with family members and making online connections they never thought possible.

After Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association Director of Home Health Services Vicki Baron heard about such mentoring programs at a conference, she brought the idea back to staff at the VNA, which is partnering with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Colorado to start a similar program in Steamboat Springs, Craig, Hayden and Oak Creek.

“We thought it would be an interesting way to collaborate and educate seniors in our community about technology,” said Mindy Fontaine, VNA donor relations coordinator.

The VNA is working to identify seniors for the program while the Boys & Girls Club is providing the teen mentors, including middle school-aged students already in the club’s Torch Club leadership group.

The program will be uniquely beneficial to both teens and seniors, said Dana Duran, Boys & Girls Club of Northwest Colorado executive director.

“We’re going to get kids connected with seniors to help both generations gain some knowledge,” Duran said.

Teens are the obvious choice to become Internet mentors, she said.

“Kids now are coming out of the womb knowing how to use technology — it’s just part of the way they interface with the world,” Duran said.

Teens in the program will visit seniors at Casey’s Pond, Steamboat Springs Community Center, South Routt Community Center, The Haven in Hayden and at Wellness Wednesday at The Journey Baptist Church and Sunset Meadows in Craig.

Duran said the club is always seeking more teens for all its programs, including this upcoming mentoring opportunity, for which they’re seeking incoming sixth- through eighth-graders.

The “Cyber-Seniors” documentary screens at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 5 at the Chief Theater, 813 Lincoln Ave. in Steamboat Springs and at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 6 at Moffat County High School, 900 Finley Lane in Craig, and costs $15, which goes to supporting the VNA’s Aging Well programs and to purchasing technology to help educate the seniors.

The VNA is also working with Casey’s Pond and the Routt County Council on Aging to present the film.

A preview and more information about the documentary can be found at

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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