Computers aren’t just for kids anymore. SeniorNet-at-SMU instructors teach senior citizens how to keep up with technology – and their grandchildren.

SeniorNet-at-SMU was established in 1994 and is staffed entirely by volunteers. More than 80 instructors, coaches and administrators donated their time last year to teach 400 seniors everything from the basics – how to turn on the computer – to more advanced programs such as desktop publishing, Internet applications and financial software.

Neighborhood resident Rosemarie Paul-Mills learned about SeniorNet while taking continuing education classes at SMU. She has been a volunteer instructor for two years, teaching eight-week classes with 14 students per class.

"Many people say their grandchildren are using computers and they are bound and determined not to be left behind," says Paul-Mills. "They believe if their grandchildren can do it, so can they – an it’s true."

She says she enjoys teaching and watching her students’ "techno-phobia" subside as they realize they can understand computers.

"These volunteer instructors create a non-threatening atmosphere where no question is too silly, no finger-glitch is tragic and there are no unreasonable expectations," says Karen Brutsman, education coordinator for SeniorNet-at-SMU. "The instructors enable seniors to stretch their imaginations and increase their abilities."

For more information on how to become a SeniorNet volunteer or student, call 214-768-4332. For information on other volunteer opportunities, call the Volunteer Center of Dallas County at 214-826-6767.