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Be a Good Samaritan over Skype

Today, March 13 is Good Samaritan Day – a time to celebrate acts of kindness and selflessness, big or small. Read on for some ideas about how to be a Good Samaritan over Skype, and to find out what we’ve been doing to help support real people and good works.

How you can be a Good Samaritan using Skype…

Make time to call or message someone you know is going through a hard time
There are times when we all could use someone to talk to and a little moral support. If you know someone who’s broken up with their significant other, lost their job, lost a loved one or is just generally going through a tough time, make sure to video call and let them know you’re there for them – even if you’re cities or oceans apart.

Help close the technology gap for seniors and show them how to stay in touch with their family using Skype
It’s easy to forget how lucky we are to be able to connect with the people who matter most with little more than the press of a button or the click of a mouse.

But many people, especially senior citizens, find it difficult to stay in touch – some because they can’t afford to call, and others because they’re unsure about how to take advantage of the new technology and free options open to them, such as Skype video calls.

Just last month we came across a really heart-warming story that inspired us – the story of Ivan Quinones, a college student who introduced Skype to the residents of a local nursing home and showed them how to use video calls to connect with their friends and family. Ivan’s efforts really helped make a difference to people who were feeling lonely and disconnected.

So why not take some time this Good Samaritan’s Day and help close the technology gap by showing the elderly in your area how to use Skype to stay in touch?

Try mentoring someone over Skype
Sometimes, it’s nice to lend a hand and show someone a little support. We recently heard how tutors are using video calls and screen sharing to provide homework help over Skype to students in the Anchorage School District. If you know someone who’s struggling to learn a language that you speak, or to lose weight when you’re good at exercise, why not volunteer to mentor them over a video call?

There’s lots of skills you can pass on via video calling – how to bake a cake, cook a healthy meal, act out a story, sign, speak a different language, dance, exercise. All you need to do is find a friend or a friend of a friend in need of a little mentoring.

You could even ask the person you mentor to help keep the kindness going, by asking them to mentor someone as well.

How we’ve helped to do good this year …

We helped DoSomething.org’s “Grandparents Gone Wired” Campaign
In December, we ran a holiday campaign called “Grandparents Gone Wired” with DoSomething.org that inspired tech-savvy teens to share their knowledge and love of Skype with seniors. Over 12,000 people signed up to help older people learn about using programs like Skype, Facebook and Gmail.

Skype in the classroom continues to grow
Skype in the classroom is an online community that encourages teachers to connect and support one another through content sharing, collaborative projects and classroom connections to bring topics to life for their students. We officially launched Skype in the classroom back in March 2011 and the site has grown steadily since. There are over 22,000 teachers using the site and our goal is to connect one million classrooms.

Have you got any ideas on how use video calls as part of an act of kindness? Have you used video calls to make someone feel better? Please leave a comment and let us know about your experience…

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