When Brian Rapsey joined Senior Planet from AARP as part of the Connected NYCHA program, he instantly fell in love with teaching technology to older adults. We caught up with Brian to talk about his four years as a Senior Planet trainer, technology and his passion for sports.
What led you to become a Senior Planet trainer? What did you do before this?
Before joining Senior Planet, I stumbled upon my passion for teaching older adults while volunteering at the Brooklyn Public Library. There I assisted teaching adult literacy and computer classes, and even led sessions on the Citizenship test.
It was the perfect blend of my love for learning and helping others. I met brave individuals who wanted to learn to read late in life, and their courage and curiosity was truly inspiring. Fast forward, now I’m lucky enough to work full time with older adults who are eager to learn new skills and brave enough to take the plunge.
The best compliment I ever got was when a student told me that he no longer feared using his computer.
What are some of your favorite things about being a Senior Planet trainer?
I absolutely love hanging out with my students during classes. But for me the biggest joy happens at graduation when my students share their stories. Hearing them talk about their time in class and how much they’ve learned is heartwarming. The best compliment I ever got was when a student told me that he no longer feared using his computer.
What gets you excited about technology?
Throughout history, there have been big game-changing technological moments like fire, agriculture, and the printing press that have had a profound impact on human life. Well, right now, we’re at the edge of another major shift with new technologies like the internet, mobile devices and artificial intelligence, and that’s pretty exciting!
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Outside of work, I’m a bit of a sports fanatic. I follow professional baseball, football, basketball, Formula 1, boxing, cricket – you name it! I also enjoy strolling about the city streets or going for a jog in the park. It’s my happy place.
Any memorable stories or advice you always share in class?
I’m all about giving step-by-step instructions, but I also tell my students, don’t be afraid to jump ahead, even if it feels a bit uncertain. Mistakes? They’re just part of the learning process, so embrace them.
And questions are golden. No need to be shy about asking. It’s all a necessary part of the learning process. Lastly, I encourage students to support one another – we’re all in this learning adventure together.
What does “aging with attitude” mean to you?
To me, “aging with attitude” is all about growth – a lifelong commitment to becoming a better version of myself. I’m always hungry for new skills, whether they’re learning new technologies, abilities or ways to take care of myself.
Is there a trainer you think deserves a Meet the Trainer spotlight? Let us know in the comments!
Pam Hugi is Senior Planet’s Community and Advocacy Manager. Based in Brooklyn, she is a contributing writer for this site.