WDM Library Partners with Community to Offer Teen Tech Help

One of the newest offerings to the community at the West Des Moines Public Library is Tech Help with Teens—a program designed to pair trained teen technicians with library patrons who have specific questions about technology. Each teen assistant is trained on both Apple and Android products and can help answer questions on smart phones, tablets, and laptops.

Jodi Tschudin, the supervisor of the program, explained that the need for tech help really became evident during the onset of COVID-19. She reached out to community partner, Youth Justice Initiative, to present the idea of having a group of trained and paid teenagers who could assist the community with their tech needs.

“I’ve been pretty passionate about technology for a really long time and there’s a definite need and disconnect for the older community,” Tschudin said. “There’s not a lot of resources currently. When you ask someone ‘where would you go for tech help?’ typically it’s your kids or grand kids or neighbor—and often that’s not the best solution because maybe they’ll put a band aid on the problem or fix it for you in which case you really haven’t been educated.”

Currently the program has six teens that are dedicated assistants that range in age from 13 – 17 years old. They also spend time at the Clive Public Library offering similar services. When asked about why the teens liked to be a part of the program, the answer was almost unanimously that they liked being able to assist their community.

“I think it’s cool that this kind of program exists to help people who really don’t get a lot of attention in our community,” said Mayada, an 11th grader at Valley High School. “Before we trained on technology, we first learned our soft skills, like communication, to keep in mind that people we might be working with could have hearing or other problems. We also went over problem solving and knowing that if there’s a problem that we can’t solve, we should reach out to our supervisor.”

If you or someone  you know would like to take advantage of this free tech help, you can sign up for an appointment on the library’s website at wdmlibrary.org/teentech. The teens are in the library on the first Saturday of each month between 10:00 – 11:30 AM and the third Wednesday of the month from 4:00 – 5:30 PM. Walk-ins are also welcome on a first-come, first-served basis.

Tech Help with Teens was created in partnership with Youth Justice Initiative, the City of West Des Moines, United Way, Google Fiber, and Microsoft.  

 

Listen to our full podcast episode where we sat down with Jodi, five of the participating teen assistants, and Jennifer Hahn, Director of Youth Justice Initiative. 

 


Posted on November 01, 2021