PAY IT FORWARD: Seeing i2i brings kids, 'senior friends' together with technology

- When it comes to friendships, age is really just a number. That's what one Virginia mom set out to prove to her kids, and FOX 5 teamed up with Easterns Automotive Group to help her keep 'Seeing i2i.' 

They might be from very different generations, but Seeing i2i pairs a group of young students with a group of "senior friends" to spark conversations about life-- and eventually, friendships-- with the help of technology. 

Anjali Patel is the Manassas, Va. mom who started it all. She told FOX 5 DC the idea sparked from her own kids, who are very close to their grandparents but don't live near them.

"Every time the grandparents leave, we go through this withdrawal period," Patel explained. "So the kids one night said, 'Well, can we just have some substitute grandparents until they come back?' And I thought-- maybe!"

Patel built a website and tested it out in their neighborhood first. She says everyone liked it because as it turns out, kids seem to have a lot in common with their elders, and they get along great. Now, kids who participate, including her own, Skype with some of the residents at the Holiday Retirement Manassas Senior Living at The Fairmont

You might wonder if using Skype is a tough skill for seniors to master later in life, but Patel says she was surprised how fast they adapted once they were shown how it works. 

"All it takes is a few minutes, and now they're so comfortable, and it's cool, and they realize it's actually easier to use than we think," she said.

Once they're connected, the kids quiz their "senior friends" about life-- and vice versa. The children gain insight into life and the chance to engage with people from different backgrounds, while the seniors say for them, it's fun and a great source of energy. They talk about everything from what books they're reading to careers and more.

FOX 5 and Easterns Automotive Group teamed up to help Pay It Forward and keep their inspiring friendships growing. Easterns Automotive Group presented Seeing i2i with new Fire tablets so they can keep communicating, and some gift cards so they can bring the kids and their senior friends together for an in-person party to celebrate bridging the generational gap. 

For more information about Seeing i2i, visit their website.

Watch the video above to see more! 

If you know someone who should be featured on Pay It Forward, you can nominate them here. In your email, be sure to include who they are and why they deserve to be recognized.

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