TMF Success Stories: Wallingford Community Senior Center

This post is the second in a series of “TMF Success Stories,” featuring updates on Technology Matching Fund recipients.

Overview

A little over a year ago, the Wallingford Community Senior Center was suffering financially and about to close its doors. The economic downturn led to a lack of funding for programming, and the WCSC was falling behind on rent payments. However, with the help of a generous anonymous donor and a dedicated community of supporters, the Wallingford Community Senior Center remains open and continues to offer essential programming and services to seniors.

Before their proposed closure, the WCSC had been awarded a Bill Wright Technology Matching Fund Grant to update the computers and software in their technology center. When the crisis was over and WCSC staff and supporters began to think about its future again, they decided to push forward with the project. They successfully purchased and installed six new computer stations, as well as a new projector for workshops and classes.

One of the 6 new workstations with a wide screen flat panel monitor, and a high-resolution “Keys-U-See” keyboard made for users with low vision.

Volunteers

Volunteers have always been integral to the core programs of the Wallingford Community Senior Center. Jay Press, a star volunteer, started helping out in WCSC’s community technology center over six years ago. Jay began his tenure as WCSC’s resident computer guru, when he helped out with the computers in the old CTC. Community members also sought his advice, coming to the technology center to get assistance and have questions answered. Additionally, Jay visited – and continues to visit – seniors’ homes to help them address problems with their personal computers. Old computers find new life in Jay’s care, as he refurbishes them and gives them away to seniors and other folks in the community who might not otherwise have access to home technology.

Throughout the long process of planning, purchasing, and installing the computers and software funded by the Technology Matching Fund, Jay provided practical, hands-on support. He even modified the furniture to fit the new flat screen monitors, showcasing his carpentry skills. Jay values challenging himself, and setting up and installing the network and Windows 7 allowed him to gain new skills.

Volunteer Jay Press makes sure the desks are ready for the new monitors.

Jay continues to volunteer about 25 hours a week at the WCSC. He loves to learn new things as he supports WCSC’s technology center, which keeps him challenged and interested. He’s fond of the WCSC staff, saying “it’s icing on the cake” that the staff is kind, responsive, and appreciative.
Many other volunteers also make the WCSC’s technology programs possible. Computer mentors and instructors enjoy spending time helping seniors (and other community members) learn how to make technology work for them.

New Programs

The Wallingford Community Senior Center has reinvigorated is programming for the technology center, offering many exciting new classes learning opportunities. Norah Erwin-Stewart, WCSC’s Program Coordinator, has recruited volunteers and teaches some classes herself, along with fellow staff member Liz Crane. A mix of paid trainers and volunteer instructors also teach classes, creating the capacity for exciting, robust technology courses!

New course offerings include:

• Skype Demos
• Facebook for Boomers and Beyond
• Digital Camera basics
• Tablet (iPad, etc.) Demos
• Computer mentoring for both PCs and Macs

To learn more about the Wallingford Community Senior Center, visit http://wallingfordseniors.org.

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