Seniors working with Berkley students to set up transportation options

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published October 14, 2019

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HUNTINGTON WOODS/BERKLEY — Seniors who would like to use ride-sharing services, such as Uber and Lyft, can work with high school students to get past any technological obstacles.

The city of Huntington Woods has partnered with National Honor Society students at Berkley High School to help senior citizens set up applications, such as those for Uber or Lyft, on their smartphones.

For seniors who don’t have smartphones, the city is starting a pilot program with the service GoGoGrandparent that will help seniors connect with ride-sharing companies.

A senior can contact GoGoGrandparent to set up an account over the phone or online, and when they need to get transportation, the organization can call a driver for the ride. Huntington Woods seniors who are 60 and older will receive $5 off their first two rides on GoGoGrandparent.

Lenny Newman, a member of the city’s Senior Advisory Committee, said that for senior citizens like him, the program comes in handy.

“They came in and worked with each individual senior citizen to help explain to them how their phone works, how to use their phone, how to get these applications, all that kind of stuff,” he said. “If you’re under 50 … you probably know all this stuff. Those of us who are in our late 60s, 70s and 80s are not as adept or not adept at all in how to make all this stuff happen, and the world is going this way and we’re not there.”

In working with the high school students, Newman said they usually set up a day when the kids can work with seniors in a technology workshop. The seniors have been working with the students and getting their help on a variety of subjects for about a year.

“The Berkley School District is proud of our high school students who are giving back to their community,” Berkley School District Director of Communications Jessica Stilger said in a prepared statement. “This is another example of our students lifting up the community they live in.”

Newman called working with the students a “blessing” because of the students’ knowhow with the technology. He also said that creating these intergenerational relationships is something that he’s been wanting to get going.

“I think seniors have a tendency to kind of feel left out and excluded and lost,” he said. “They have lots to offer, but when it comes to some of this technical stuff, they’re not there.”

Seniors can check in with the Recreation Department at (248) 541-3030 to learn more about when the next workshop dates will occur. For more information on the program, people can contact City Manager Amy Sullivan at asullivan@hwmi.org or at (248) 581-2632.

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