Bridging the intergenerational gap through technology

Teeniors founder and CEO Trish Lopez. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

The African girl was by yourself in Albuquerque following her spouse died, far from other family users and devoid of an quick way to converse with them.

When an Albuquerque teen showed her how to use a cellphone and how to get in touch by way of WhatsApp, “she was just ecstatic and crying and chatting about how she’d been so frustrated in advance of this,” claims Trish Lopez, founder and CEO of the 7-12 months-aged Teeniors program.

It’s 1 of the stories that has touched Lopez most because she 1st came up with the plan of choosing teenagers and young grown ups to help seniors find out about FaceTime or texting or even just the basic principles of applying a laptop and cellphone.

For a kid who grew up in Belen with five siblings and a widowed mother, it was a hard street from the time she initial voiced her concept at a women’s startup weekend to the launching of her business enterprise in 2015.

“When you’re winning, everyone is in your corner,” Lopez says. “When you are commencing anything that is not well-known … when you don’t have the assistance … it is all you.

“I have this slide that I clearly show at presentations, with initially-, 2nd-, 3rd-spot winners, (surrounded by) all these photographers and media folks. And then it displays what you can’t see underground, wherever there’s these bricks of loneliness, hardship, prolonged evenings, blood, sweat, tears, depression, failure, etcetera., etcetera. I appreciate that visible simply because that is what accomplishment looks like.”

Lopez grew to become an entrepreneur immediately after a occupation in the movie business, equally in Los Angeles and, right after returning home, with the New Mexico Movie Office environment.

She won national recognition very last yr as just one of 12 folks to acquire an “Influencer in Aging” award for her function in connecting younger and older generations.

Teeniors has tutored far more than 4,000 more mature older people and presented operate for dozens of teens above the decades. In-human being tutoring classes are back, but the pandemic pushed almost everything on-line and expanded Teeniors’ access to 27 states.

“What was awesome about digital was, for the 1st time ever, we obtained to assist individuals outside the house of New Mexico,” Lopez claims.

What was the inspiration for Teeniors?

“The plan was impressed by my mom, who is now just about 83. She has struggled with technological innovation a lot of instances. Me and my brothers would be known as upon to support, but we could not often be there … and I really don’t believe we were being (these kinds of) good academics when we were being there. I used to believe if I could just send out a kid to my mom’s to support her recuperate her password, do whatsoever …”

Did you normally want to be an entrepreneur?

“No! My then-husband or wife had gone to a startup weekend, and then I heard about this a single for ladies. I claimed it was the very last matter I was intrigued in, but a pal said they did not have adequate women of all ages signed up. So out of the blue I was leaping in, but as a volunteer … to assist with marketing and advertising or whatever. I was just sitting down in the viewers listening to people’s strategies, when they claimed, ‘Does everyone in the audience have something they’re pondering that they are not indicating?’ Every person was pitching apps, but I said, ‘I would like to see a lot more youths helping elders, and I can feel of a million strategies they could do that, from mowing their lawns to using them to the store. For the purposes of this startup weekend, I will hone it to tech-savvy teenagers encouraging seniors study technological innovation.’ And it was just like noisy crickets in the home. I acquired a pretty crew of strangers to help out, and we finished up successful 1st position.”

What were being you like as a kid?

“The way I grew up in New Mexico was not quick. We were being born and elevated in Belen and did not have any money. Dad died when I was 8, and all 5 of us children ended up under the age of 13. My mom was a cashier at Walmart. I give her all the credit history in the earth … but she could only deal with so a lot, so we genuinely elevated ourselves in a lot of strategies. I bought in fights. I was in issues all the time.”

Who inspires you?

“Can I give you some properties rather than a individual? Individuals who are courageous, individuals who are articulate. Folks who are humble. People who advocate for a result in but don’t shame others when they’re performing it. Angela Davis, Maya Angelou. Individuals are some people today.”

Do you have any quirks?

“I come across it incredibly complicated to go to a restaurant and purchase just one particular point. I usually get two or three entrees – each and every time. It is really really hard for me to make a decision.”

When you 1st pitched Teeniors, did you have a clue it would be this successful?

“No, but I also didn’t imagine about it significantly, time period. I don’t forget when we won the startup weekend, even my spouse was just kind of like, ‘Wow.’ I just remember a great deal of people did not get it – ‘That’s adorable, but that is not what the startup weekend is.’ That’s the problem, way too. I feel that the entrepreneurial environment, they try to make it all Elon Musk-like. There are tons of entrepreneurs in New Mexico … and they’re fixing actual troubles. Teenagers and seniors? It was just entirely out of my wheelhouse. Nobody understood what was likely on. So no, I didn’t be expecting it to do as well as it is been performing.”

What is the very best compliment you’ve obtained?

“I try to remember a 16-year-previous teenior’s mother and father attained out to me and questioned me more than for lunch. They reported, ‘We just want to inform you the change this is building in his lifetime. This is a child who did not have buddies just before. His entire social planet – he’s a gamer – was on line. And now it is like he’s setting up conversations with folks he’s never achieved. He’s implementing for careers and schools and internships. It’s like he stands straighter now.’ You know, like seniors, these youngsters can be marginalized and underestimated. When you tutor a person, it is like a video game – they see the fast gratitude. They’re revered for their knowledge, and they become the most essential person in the area. The elegance of looking at these intergenerational connections is genuinely some thing.”

Teeniors founder and CEO Trish Lopez. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

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