Three local boys – all brothers – are empowering San Diego’s elderly community to stay connected through donated digital devices and tech tutoring.
13-year-old Keanu Seeliger, 13-year-old Jaiden Seeliger and 12-year-old Milaan Seeliger launched the youth-led nonprofit Tech Angels during the pandemic when they saw the challenges that came after trying to video-chat with their 97-year-old grandmother who was in a nursing home.
“It was hard to connect with her during COVID because of the quarantines and shutdown. We were lucky that we were able to FaceTime her, but we realize that other people may not be as lucky,” said Jaiden.
The Rancho Santa Fe-based gadget gurus established Tech- Angels as a 501(c)(3) and rallied friends and family to donate used or unwanted devices like iPads and cell phones.
“We would collect devices from people at school or church or have people reach out to give us devices or money to get devices,” Keanu shared.
With the help of their advisors Dimple Shah and John Seeliger (mom and dad), the brothers made their way into various nursing homes and assisted living facilities to share their IT insight. They’ve since helped close to 300 residents and donated more than 50 devices.
“We met a survivor from World War II and it was super exciting because he’d never done a FaceTime with anyone before but he was finally able to FaceTime with his granddaughter for the first time. His face lit up,” said Jaiden.
“When we help them successfully, it changes them. It makes them smile a lot more and helps their mental health because they can talk to young ones,” Milaan added. The boys soon realized the impact that their actions had on seniors who’d been struggling with loneliness from isolation.
“Even if we’re not donating devices and helping them with tech, we can still listen to them talk about their lives which they love. It makes their days so much better,” Keanu shared.
Connectivity helps return a missing sense of independence. By arming them with new skills, the boys have seen their senior students become increasingly self-reliant and able to manage their own communication, health, finances and entertainment.
“I’m really proud of them!” said Shah who runs a corporate strategy team for a wealth management firm. “It’s making the boys much more compassionate and learn some history. It gives them perspective on life and what a life’s journey can look like.”
The electronics experts are open to any partnerships that can help supply devices for donation. They’d also love to hear from any nursing homes that would appreciate having them come visit. They’re also looking to add to their team of volunteer tech tutors.
Recently, they’ve set up workshops for people who are still living independently but could benefit from additional tech support.
“We have big dreams. We’re looking forward to helping more people and making this even bigger,” Jaiden added.
COFOUNDERS: Keanu, Jaiden & Milaan Seeliger
LOCATION: San Diego
NOTABLE: In January of 2022, U.S. Representative Mike Levin (D-CA) announced that Jaiden, Keanu, and Milaan Seeliger were formally recognized as “Constituents of the Month” for their volunteer work with Tech-Angels.