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YouthSERVE teen volunteer Erik Bucio helps Marilym McBrien with her computer Saturday at the Louden Nelson Center.

SANTA CRUZ -- CJ Elizabeth was a little lost when it came to uploading photos from her smart phone to her Dell laptop.

After several frustrating attempts at home, Elizabeth turned to the expertise of 15-year-old high school student Colton Cagle for help.

"Picasa wouldn't accept my phone photos," Elizabeth, 66, said. "I just want to manage my photos. What's nice is they don't act like I'm stupid."

The computer lesson Cagle gave Elizabeth took place Saturday at Louden Nelson Community Center as part of YouthSERVE's Senior Tech Day, which helps local seniors increase their skills with technology, social media and digital devices.

The next workshop is March 9.

The teens volunteer to share their online knowledge.

Sometimes the questions from seniors are as simple as how to copy and paste or how to turn on new iPads.

Often seniors show up with electronic devices that have been given to them as gifts and they don't know where to begin with working them.

"We're just here to help seniors learn about technology and what's going on right now," said UC Santa Cruz student Jessica Villela, 21. "There's a lot of advanced new technology out there that youth are sort of born into."

Cagle, a student at Pacific Collegiate School, said he enjoys teaching people how to master technology. He said he's even built his own computer.

"A lot of time it's a struggle for the seniors to trust us because a friend told them to do it another way," Cagle said. "I've been told I'm good at teaching, and I find it fun."


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Santa Cruz resident Jerry Devine doesn't have access to the Internet at home.

He showed up to Senior Tech Day to use a computer to file his daughter's income tax through the Internal Revenue Service's website, which is foreign to him because he prefers the old way of filling out paper tax forms.

It's a project Devine has spent several days trying to accomplish.

"These guys are good. They definitely know more than I do," he said. "They're into the detail."

At age 67, Devine doesn't see the appeal of being constantly connected to the digital world with iPhones and iPads like most teens do.

"We don't want the Internet," Devine said. "It's too invasive. It's addictive, and it's too much of a temptation."

Follow Sentinel reporter Shanna McCord on Twitter at Twitter.com/scnewsmom