Greenwich Student Volunteer Connects Nathaniel Witherell Residents to Technology

For rising junior Joseph Farrell, the question “How did you spend your summer vacation?” is one he’s more than happy to answer. That’s because this young Greenwich student is piloting a technology program to teach our residents how to use the internet so they can connect to family, world news, and various forms of entertainment.

“Technology is such an important part of all of our lives, that by investing his time here this summer, Joey is helping our residents become more familiar with and access technology so that they can enjoy its benefits, too,” says Scott Neff, executive director of the Friends of Nathaniel Witherell. “We’re really thrilled to welcome Joey to our ever growing ranks of volunteers.”

The idea for the program came to Farrell as a natural outgrowth of his volunteer work at Greenwich Library, where he assists people in using the library’s computers to format and print resumes. Additionally, his school participates in the EE Ford Foundation Community Engagement Fellowship program. Joey pitched and received approval to implement the technology-based initiative at the Witherell.

No lazy days spent at the pool or beach for Farrell, who attends Rye Country Day School in Rye, New York. Instead, as part of his commitment to the Witherell, he conducted a survey to determine which families of residents in skilled nursing wanted to set up Skype calls with their loved ones, and whom among the residents would be open to receiving tutorials on how to use an Ipad, to access news or games.

As a result of the survey, he received several requests from families to connect to their relatives at the Witherell—one from a new mother of triplets living out of state, and another from a resident’s son currently living in Israel. When he’s at the Witherell, he’ll track down residents and help facilitate video calls. Every week, he provides summaries of the week’s activity as part of the reporting process.

He says that at the conclusion of his commitment, he’ll have the opportunity to earmark a donation to the Nathaniel Witherell to keep his technology program going after he’s back at school. “I love to volunteer, but it’s hard to find time during the school year,” says Joey. “But doing a program like this during the summer was such a great opportunity.”



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