Sheriff Bellotti awards students for helping senior citizens with technology in YES program

Norfolk County Sheriff Michael Bellotti on Friday, March 31, awarded 10 Archbishop Williams High School students Official Citations for their participation in YES (Youth Empowering Seniors), a community outreach program of the Sheriff’s Department where students taught 24 senior citizens at Independence Manor, Braintree, how to use computers, tablets, and smartphones.

“I think the program is of great value for both students and seniors,” Bellotti told the audience of seniors and students. “The seniors learn about technology, and the students learn about life.”

Mary Cirignano, a resident of the manor and a past chair and current member of the Braintree Department of Elder Affairs, appreciated the ongoing training. “I don’t fear technology anymore,” she said. “I made sure I kept coming back because the young man who worked with me kept making me try new things,” she said of her student, senior Andrew Bucca.

“I learned how to transfer a picture to the picture gallery,” said Dorothy “Dottie” Acorn, who worked with sophomore Eoin Varden. “I learned how to take old messages off, and how to post a message to my son on Facebook,” she said.

During the 10 week program, the students attended eight sessions with the seniors after completing a sensitivity training course taught by Deputy Sheriff Cheryl Bambery who implemented the program and attended each session with them. In the training, the students wore glasses that mimicked vision with glaucoma and gloves that restricted finger movement the same way that arthritis does.

Senior Diana Blell was happy there was no generation gap with the seniors. “I really had a chance to interact with older people,” she said. “For them the age gap is not a big deal, and if you sit with them like we did you learn you can talk with anyone.”

The Archbishop Williams side of the program was facilitated by the school’s Administrative Assistant and YES Program Assistant Coordinator, Julie McCormack and Campus Minister, David Gilpin.

“The YES program is valuable to both students and seniors because for seniors, they’re able to understand the technology that is so prevalent in our society, and for the students, they begin to understand the hardships in the everyday world of the seniors,” Gilpin said.

Student award recipients are: Seniors; Karthikeyan Arumugam, Diana Blell, Andrew Bucca, Stephen Lynch, Molly Shiner, Claire Speredelozzi. Juniors; Caroline Bloomer, Julia Geary, Olivia McDonnell; Sophomore; Eoin Varden.

Front, from left: Molly Shiner, Diana Blell, Caroline Bloomer, Olivia McDonnell, Julia Geary. Rear: AWHS Administrative Assistant and the school’s YES program Assistant Coordinator Julie McCormack, Karthikeyan Arumugam, Deputy Sheriff Cheryl Bambery, Principal Michael Volonnino, Norfolk County Sheriff Michael Bellotti, Andrew Bucca, Claire Speredelozzi, Eoin Varden, Stephen Lynch.

Senior Inez Shamey, a resident of Independence Manor, Braintree, with Archbishop Williams High School senior Karthikeyan Arumugam who is holding his Official Citation given to him by Norfolk County Sheriff Michael Bellotti for his participation in the 10 week YES (Youth Empowering Seniors) program at Independence Manor, Braintree.

Archbishop Williams High School junior Julia Geary shows her YES T-shirt, provided with an Official Citation by Norfolk County Sheriff Michael Bellotti for her participation in the Youth Empowering Seniors (YES) program which helps seniors learn to use technology at Independence Manor, Braintree. To her right is classmate Caroline Bloomer.

Molly Shiner receives Official Citation from Norfolk County Sheriff Michael Bellotti for participation in YES Program