But not everyone has the same picture of what makes a perfect retirement.
Growing up in the segregated south, and working since she was 6 years old, 76-year-old Estella Pyfrom, of Palm Beach County, Florida isn’t just looking for warm weather and sunshine.
In 2009, Pyfrom, a former guidance counselor, gathered up her retirement money and invested in a bus equipped with 17 computers with access to Internet via satellite.
“I took my retirement savings to create a classroom to bring high-tech learning to communities in need,” Pyfrom told CNN as part of her interview after being nominated and selected as a CNN Hero.
Fearing that the low income families in the neighborhood were being left behind in the digital age, Pyfrom has spent an estimated $1 million in establishing and maintaining this mobile workspace.
“The digital divide is absolutely real,” Pyfrom told CNN. “And it didn’t just become a reality. It’s been there for years, and it’s getting bigger and more important.”
Estella’s Brilliant Bus, with the help of volunteers, gives children from low income families access to computers, regular tutoring sessions, and workshops for adults and parents in the community that want to learn more about technology and using the Internet. Parents can get help learning how to use the Internet for banking purposes or researching jobs and affordable homes. There is also a set of rules on the bus, primarily forbidding the use of Facebook. Students can only use the computers for educational purposes, utilizing the educational programs already on the computers.
“During these tough economic times, parents in the Florida neighborhood were struggling to pay rent, provide food and necessities for their families,” said Pyfrom..
“If I didn’t have the bus to come to, it’d be hard to get to a computer,” 13-year-old Brianna Rodriguez told CNN. “My grades have gotten better. The one-on-one time, it helped me.”
A survey of about 2,500 U.S. middle and high school teachers, conducted by the PEW Research Center finds that 56 percent of teachers of low income students say “that students’ lack of access to digital technologies is a “major challenge” to incorporating more digital tools into their teaching”. Only 21 percent of teachers of the highest income students had the same sentiment.
Only 37 percent of teachers of low income students use tablet computers in their classroom and for assignments, compared to 56 percent of teachers of students from the highest economic background.
Pyfrom also works with a non-profit group comprised of 3,000 community members that deliver meals to low-income households every month, and hopes to keep Estella’s Brilliant Bus going for as long as she can.
“I’m not tired yet. And I don’t think I’m going to get tired,” she said. “I’m constantly charged up. I look at the faces of the children and I get energized.”