Tom Kamber's life went in a different direction after getting a phone call from an 87-year-old named Pearl more than 15 years ago. At the time, Kamber was helping to revitalize downtown Manhattan after September 11th.
"I was doing a web launch event and I got a phone call from a woman in her 80s who wanted to come to the web launch but said she didn't know what the Internet was. And I offered to help her," Kamber recalled.
That call sparked something special.
Kamber says it made him realize there was a serious need to better connect seniors with technology.
In 2004, he launched "Older Adults Technology Services," or OATS, giving those 60 and over the resources they need to thrive in today's digital age.
"People say all sorts of terrible things about growing older and how people are incapacitated or over the hill and it really creates a terrible sense of negativity. So what we find at Senior Planet is they're using the technology to reverse that trend and to empower themselves," Kamber said.
The program’s flagship - "Senior Planet" in Chelsea - is where members learn everything from accessing email to running an online business for free.
There are 24 sites across the five boroughs that have served more than 25,000 older adults since the launch.
"If you're 90 you could learn the same stuff that your 20-year-old relatives are learning you just need to come at it with a little bit of a different learning style," Kamber said.
Kamber says for some seniors, learning new technology can be intimidating. But for others , like Carlos Lewis, getting over that fear can open new doors.
He's hoping to get his business on the web.
"What I've learned in computer basics don't be scared of the computer it doesn't bite," Lewis said.
Breaking those barriers while building confidence is something Kamber says is the best part of his job.
"Working with seniors in tech is such a blast that I can't even imagine doing anything that would be more fun than this," Kamber added.
So for keeping seniors connected, Tom Kamber is our New Yorker of the Week.