Trish Lopez
Founder of Teeniors

New Mexico startup Teeniors is successfully pivoting to meet the demands of COVID-19 by helping senior citizens learn technology through one-on-one tutoring — now through phone and video calls.

Because of recent grant funding, Teeniors’ team of teens and young adults are providing “virtual” tutoring for any senior across Valencia County at no cost. Interested residents can contact Teeniors to set up free tutoring sessions to learn how to better use their smartphone, tablet, computer or Smart TV. Sessions are available seven days a week.

“To protect the health of our senior clients and our team, we stopped in-person coaching in the wake of Covid-19 and have moved to a safe online or by-phone approach,” said Teeniors’ founder Trish Lopez. “For the last month, we’ve offered free ‘try it out’ sessions to dozens of seniors, which have been very well received.”

Teeniors has been helping older adults at Rio Communities and Bosque Farms senior centers for the past year. Founded in 2015 by Lopez, a Belen native, Teeniors is a woman-led startup business and non-profit based in Albuquerque that was created to help older adults adapt to the digital world while providing skill-based jobs for youth in New Mexico.

In 2017, Lopez created a non-profit arm to support the free coaching they provide to seniors who can’t afford to pay.

Now during Covid-19, they’ve immediately shifted to helping seniors through phone and video calls. Open to any adult, every request is welcome — from how to use email, text, video call or submit applications online, to learning how to stream movies, download software, share pictures or learn about apps and programs like social media.

“Our kids want to continue working, and our older adults want stay connected to the world,” said Lopez. “All of us want to decrease isolation while keeping each other safe. Funding from Facebook is helping us keep families connected in a time of crisis.”

Teeniors will also be able to provide senior clients in Valencia County Facebook “portals” (an electronic tablet that allows video calling, photo sharing and comes equipped with Alexa). In addition to expanding services to help older adults in Valencia County, this support follows funding that Teeniors received from Comcast, Nusenda and Santa Fe Community Foundation to help seniors in Las Cruces, Albuquerque and northern New Mexico.

Teeniors are tech-savvy teens and young adults who help senior citizens (or any-aged person) learn technology through one-on-one, personalized coaching.

Whether it’s a smartphone, computer, Smart TV or software, their goal is to empower older adults to connect with their loved ones, engage with their communities — and the world — through technology, while providing paid, meaningful jobs for youth in New Mexico.

To date, they’ve coached almost 3,000 seniors in the state and provided part-time jobs to over 50 teens and young adults.

“Transitioning from in-person tech tutoring to virtual coaching isn’t easy, but our team is rising to this challenge very well,” Lopez said. “The main service we provide is human connection. We want to help people stay engaged with their loved ones and their communities in this challenging time.”

Anyone who would like to schedule a personalized session can contact Teeniors directly at 600-1297 or email teeniors@gmail.com. Learn more at teeniors.com.

All coaching from Santa Fe County down to Dona Ana county is currently being offered at no charge.

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The Valencia County News-Bulletin is a locally owned and operated community newspaper, dedicated to serving Valencia County since 1910 through the highest journalistic and professional business standards. The VCNB is published weekly on Thursdays, including holidays both in print and online.