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Join Us To Celebrate Senior Tech Day

RSVP for Senior Tech Celebration

We look forward to celebrating our collective success this Sat. July 12 from 12-1PM at the Louden Nelson Senior Center. (301 Center St, Santa Cruz). Please take a moment to RSVP so we know how many to plan for.

Senior Tech Project Wins National Award from JPMorgan and Chase

YS Senior Tech Day - ChrissyCurrent and former volunteers and participants are invited to attend a celebration event on July 12th from 12-1PM at the Louden Nelson Senior Center (301 Center St Santa Cruz). This event will be followed by a regularly scheduled Senior Tech Day program from 1-3PM. See flyer for more information.

The Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County is proud to announce we were selected as one of 4 Volunteer Centers in the Nation to receive a One America Innovation Grant provided in partnership with JP Morgan Chase and Co. and the HandsOn Network. The grants are designed to bolster innovative program models for addressing critical community needs that have the potential to be replicated in other communities.

We were awarded for the development of Senior Tech Day run by their YouthServe program. Senior Tech Day utilizes the skills of  teen volunteers to provide monthly workshops for seniors  who are struggling with technology and personal devices.

“The program initially started 3 years ago because we were looking for more concrete and meaningful ways for teens to use their personal skills to change lives in our community. Technology happens to be one thing that many teens are excellent at. As digital natives, the average high school student seems to have an innate gift for navigating technology and personal devices”, states Volunteer Center Executive Director Karen Delaney.

Youthserve staff then reached out local senior centers to see if they could pair this skill set with seniors in need.

“Indeed the need was  great. Many seniors have begun to feel increasingly isolated from their family, friends and community as more and more of our communication become centered around devices, social media and aps. Month after month seniors have flocked to the free workshops to get their questions answered about their personal devices or to learn to connect online,” states Delaney.

Participating teens are provided with training on effective methods for conveying information and are able to use this training to translate their ease with technology into a sense of ease for seniors.

“The teens have been able to give seniors not only new skills but confidence that learning about new technology is useful, doable, and sometimes downright fun. We think we have found an excellent pairing and are excited to not only expand the program in our community but help other communities replicate it as well”, states Delaney.

Volunteer Center staff were awarded for the Senior Tech Day Project on Tuesday June 17  in Atlanta Georgia at the 2014 National Conference on Volunteering and Service, which runs through Thursday and annually convenes more than 4000 service sector leaders from around the world.

Executive Director Karen Delaney had the opportunity to take the stage to pitch the project for additional funds at the first-ever HandsOn Network Innovation and Social Impact Forum, sponsored by JPMorgan Chase, where she competed before a panel of service leaders.  She was awarded $15,000 for her efforts.

The Volunteer Center was informed of winning the grant only last week and a professional film crew was immediately brought in to help them devise their pitch for the conference forum.

“Think Shark Tank for good. It has been a very exciting process and we are thrilled to share that we won the award”, states Delaney.

With the additional funds, Youthserve will be able to open the project to a wider number of locations providing senior services and will purchase additional technology in order to have learning tools on hand.

“We look forward to returning from conference and diving into program expansion. We also want to honor all those who have helped make this project a success and therefore have organized a program celebration,” states Delaney.

Learn More about Senior Tech Day   | View the Santa Cruz Sentinel Article  

View Article on  Santa Cruz Patch

Meet Ray

Volunteer of the Month June 2014


Ray G. grew up just outside of San Francisco, California.  He has a background in entertainment technical production and worked for ABC, PBS, San Jose Arena, and on various films. After being injured six years ago, Ray was at a loss as to what to do with his future. He decided to go back to school and is currently studying Human Services at Cabrillo College. After graduation, he is considering working in Addiction Treatment.

Ray began volunteering in our Jail Visiting program in January and soon found his niche in answering the many green slips here at our office.

His dedicated service to responding to inmate requests with timely and reliable information has been a tremendous help. As a volunteer, Ray has also helped out to represent Friends Outside at outreach events, and with our last Client Recognition Ceremony. He says he enjoys volunteering and gets a sense of purpose from the work he does.

Thank you Ray – you help make the mission of Friends Outside possible!


Meet Katie

Volunteer of the Month May 2014

fo_vol may 2014

Katie A. began volunteering at Friends Outside last October as an Aftercare Case Manager at our Santa Cruz office and has been an incredible team member! As a Midwest transplant that moved to Silicon Valley over 20 years ago, she never quit felt at home until meeting her husband three years ago and purchasing a house in Ben Lomand.

As a Case Manager, Katie helps connect clients to the resources available to them in Santa Cruz County, as well as helping with basic needs such as clothing, food and transportation assistance. This, along with creating trusting relationships with her clients, is at the heart of her position.

When volunteering, Katie looks forward to assisting clients through the enrollment process for Cabrillo College. She can not only relate to the fear of going back to school, but she also admires the clients’ enthusiasm.

When not volunteering or studying, Katie enjoys the outdoors, surfing and trying out her new jet skis! She is graduating this June, receiving her BA in Sociology from UCSC. Congratulations and thank you for your dedication!