Grant provides computer program for seniors

By KATIE HURST/ Lifestyles Editor

CALERA ¬— Seniors in Calera now have a new resource available to help them stay connected and boost their job skills thanks to a $2,500 grant.

The grant money will provide a new Internet-based computer-training program at the Calera Senior Center, offered by the Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging and the city of Calera.

Kelly Lippert-Flick, director of operations at M4A, said the training program, “Generations Online,” will be offered free to the public at the senior center three times a week. The program is intended for seniors, will be taught by seniors and will cover computer basics, she said.

“It teaches them the very basics, it’s the stuff that you and I take for granted,” Lippert-Flick said. “Most seniors left the workforce when computers were first coming on the scene. Now they’re reentering the workforce and everything is done by computer.”

The training program includes five different segments that take about an hour to complete, Lippert-Flick said. With the help of a senior aid, those using the program can navigate the segments at their own pace.

“I like the fact that it’s self-paced,” Lippert-Flick said. “So many seniors are intimidated by new technology. Now they can go at their own pace and learn what’s best for them.”

The grant was awarded by Cawaco Resource Conservation and Development, who delivered the check to the Calera Senior Center Dec. 15. The grant allowed the center to purchase an Internet router and subscription along with educational software and printing supplies.

Lippert-Flick said the software was installed in September and 18 people have already completed the course and 12 are currently training.

Sandy “Bo” Robertson, manager at the Calera Senior Center, said the Internet and the new training software has greatly improved the computer classes that were already offered at the center.

“We’re teaching all the seniors how to use the computer and the Internet,” she said. “From the mouse all the way up to e-mail, they’re learning a little bit at a time.”
The training program is free for the public and will be offered at the senior center Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. For more information, call 670-9988.