“It was such a gift to have Community Tech Network come into our lives during the pandemic.”
— Suzanne Anderson, executive director of AGE of Central Texas
AGE of Central Texas, which supports older adults and caregivers, discovered in 2020 that it had to address a major issue: the digital divide.
“We mainly work with older, low-income adults. When the pandemic hit, we had to stop all our in-person services,” says AGE’s Suzanne Anderson. “We were telling everyone to order their groceries and medication online and stay connected to others via the internet, but we realized that a lot of these people didn’t know how to get online.”
After developing a social isolation task force, AGE worked with Community Tech Network and Senior Access to create Senior Connect, a spin-off of CTN’s Home Connect program, which offers remote digital literacy training.
Sylvain Lacasse from AGE says, “CTN was instrumental in helping AGE provide the Senior Connect program to the older adult community in Central Texas. CTN’s established curriculum, process, tablet setup, learning materials, language translation, and ‘Train-the-Trainer’ support provided AGE with the resources and expertise to immediately roll out the program. CTN provided the template and process that AGE quickly adapted and tweaked to connect and train as many isolated older adults in need of technology help in a short period of time.”
Suzanne adds, “It has been an amazing opportunity to work with CTN. It’s been one of the best experiences I ever had in terms of partnerships. I have great respect for what Kami has created.”
So far, Senior Connect has been very well received, and AGE plans to continue the program in the future. “We have 175 beneficiaries to date who have received tablets, low-cost internet, and digital skills training. The theme of most of my conversations with learners is that they say, ‘This has changed my life,’” says Suzanne.
To read the success stories of learners enrolled in Senior Connect, see CTN’s blog posts on Huang Dongpo, Patricia Blaine, and Karen Riley-Maiden.
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