These seniors had never used the Internet. What happened when teens offered to teach them?
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TOMS One for One

Teen sisters Macaulee and Kascha Cassaday knew firsthand that elderly folks could rock new technology. Their own grandparents kept in touch several times a week despite living in another city by learning basic Internet skills.

This got them thinking: How could they help other seniors do the same?


So they created the "Cyber-Seniors" program.

Their older sister, Director Saffron Cassaday, recognized the opportunity to tell a story and decided to film the program.

The sisters recruited friends to teach a group of seniors at a local retirement home how to use the internet. Twice a week, the teens would help the seniors learn to use the Internet for the first time.

...It was a little daunting.

Did you know that using the Internet is actually good for seniors?

It's true! Internet usage has been linked to a 20% decrease in depression in the elderly, and it can enhance cognitive function.

Whether Grandma knows it or not, getting online could make her happier and sharper.

It might help their health, but staying connected was what they really came to learn.

With kids and grandkids living busy lives, sometimes across the state or even on the other side of the country, these seniors wanted to use the Internet to keep in touch with the ones they love.

"They see a program like this and they think it's an opportunity to get in touch with their grandkids and to communicate."

The teens taught them how to use video chat programs like Skype, how to stay in touch using social media, how to use mobile technology, and more. Each retiree had a variety of things they wanted to learn, from email to online games. Whatever interested them, a teen volunteer showed up twice a week to help them learn it.

One thing that interested a lot of the seniors was YouTube. So one teen suggested that he and his elderly "student" make a video of their own.

This sparked an unplanned YouTube video-making competition on the side.

The goal: to see who could get the most hits on their original YouTube creations.

All images via CyberSeniors/YouTube.

One senior loved watching cooking tutorials, so her teen teacher brainstormed a cooking video for her to make. Another teen suggested a music video ... a rap music video. (It's actually great.)

Plus, the seniors got to exercise their new Internet skills to promote their videos.

You go, Shura.

But most importantly, the seniors learned new skills that brought them closer to their loved ones.

The teen volunteers even had family members thank them for helping the seniors find new and better ways to stay in touch.

Thanks, helpful teen!

Maybe you want to start a Cyber-Seniors program of your own?

The documentary's website provides everything you need, from downloadable resources to registering your group. You can learn exactly how to do it all right here.

Their website features more about the documentary, including info about the seniors and teens themselves. Or you can check out the trailer right here:

via Anthony Crider / Flickr

Dozens of "White Lives Matter" rallies were scheduled to take place across America on Sunday. The events were scheduled in semi-private, encrypted chats on the Telegram app between Nazis, Proud Boys, and other right-wing extremists.

The organizers said the rallies would make "the whole world tremble."

However, the good news is that hardly any white supremacists showed up. In fact, the vast majority of people who did show up were counter-protesters.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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