If you’ve ever signed up for a ‘tech talk’ at Senior Planet, you may recognize Noah, the Center’s brightest — and youngest — rising star. The 14-year-old tech guru has been a regular volunteer at the Center since he was 12, when he took on the project as part of his bar mitzvah program.
“It seemed really cool,” Noah says. “I’m really into technology. I’ve grown up in a world that’s full of technology, it’s really in our lives. I’m really good with it and have been since I was a young boy. I knew it was something I actually would do beyond the length of this project. I wanted to do something that I could use for the future.”
In no time, the Center’s phones were ringing off the hook with members asking to sign up for sessions with Noah. He led his own Instagram workshop. He sings karaoke (most recently, a killer version of John Denver’s “Country Road”) in front of packed rooms at every graduation, and he was a classroom assistant for a beginners iPad class. “You probably wouldn’t think a 12-year-old would come here,” says Noah. “But when I am not here I miss this place and think ‘oh, I just want to stop in and say hi.’ There’s a gravitational pull for me to come. I cherish every moment here.”
The feeling is definitely mutual.
“Noah is a valued member of the Senior Planet community,” says Aaron Santis, Program Manager at OATS. “He’s compassionate and connected to the Center’s members, volunteers and staff. Noah’s contributions to Senior Planet illustrate that at the end of the day, age really is just a number.”
Barbara Lewers, a Senior Planet member as well as a volunteer who has gotten to know (and love) Noah well over the last two years, also sings his praises. “Noah was a perfect fit giving tech advice to our members,” Barbara says. “He knows his stuff. Members come in and ask for him — they want Noah and only Noah. The greatest thing about him is he relates well to all age groups. He does not see age. He is age-blind.”
“Noah extends a kind of loving knowledge to members and it makes them feel more confident,” says Rita Russo, a member who also volunteers with Noah. “He helps create a peaceful environment.”
In between his baseball practice, his world traveling, and his homework, Noah found a few minutes to sit down with us and let us in on the magic…that is Noah.
Senior Planet: Your good buddy Barbara Lewers described you as ‘age-blind’ — what do you think she meant by that?
I think about everyone as one community. We never get old in the sense that we can always talk to each other and we always have each other’s back. I don’t think I would have found that out if I hadn’t come here.
Senior Planet: You’re a world traveler! It seems like every time we turn around, you’re in some faraway place.
Over the course of 14 years, I’ve been to 32 different countries. My mom and dad wanted me and my sister to travel because it brings so much to you and it really changes you. I’ve been to the real Eiffel Tower. Because my parents said, ‘You’re not going to be that kid who goes to Disney World to see the Eiffel Tower and then says ‘‘I saw the Eiffel Tower.’’ I am very lucky and I am very grateful. Other people may not have the resources to be able to do that.
Senior Planet: Why do you think Senior Planet members gravitate to you so much?
Some members feel lonely and not connected in the world. I learned that here. I want to help them. I also want to help myself by understanding where they come from and what they do. If I didn’t have Senior Planet or OATS, I wouldn’t necessarily find myself talking to them. There wouldn’t be that kind of bridge that brings these two different groups of people together. As they say: respect your elders. They have more value. They bring more to the table. They’ve been here longer.
Senior Planet: What does aging with attitude mean to you?
You can’t bring others down, and you can’t let others bring you down. There’s just no time to be sad. You just need to live life to the fullest, because one day, you’re not going to be here.
Senior Planet: What do you do for fun?
I play baseball. I sell honey at the Union Square Farmers Market. I sold art in Provincetown, Ma., in the summer. I’ve also been a cross-country runner for three years. In the next few months I will also be starting my own Amazon business.
Senior Planet: Do you have time to sleep?
Somehow, I manage. Sometimes, I even feel bored! I feel like I have too much time. Yet, I’m still doing all of these things. Which personally amazes me. But I’m focused on being the best person I can be. Whether I’m at work, or at baseball, or at Senior Planet.