Technology Learning Opportunities for Local Seniors
The City of Albuquerque Department of Senior Affairs and Adelante DiverseIT are hosting a tech fair for older adults. The 50+ Senior Tech Connect will be Friday, April 1, 2022, 8:30am to 12:30pm, at North Domingo Baca Multigenerational Center. It’s free to attend and open to the public. What’s more, the 50+ Senior Tech Connect is just one part of digital literacy work the City and DiverseIT are offering.
This is the first time Adelante has helped host a tech fair for older adults. However, it will be full of tech learning opportunities. We will have prizes and refreshments. Most importantly, there will be lots of hands-on learning.
Topics include online safety, how to stream movies/music, video gaming, and more. Seniors will be encouraged to roam and learn about tech topics of their choice. Registration is not required. In short, seniors can just show up, learn, and have fun!
Sponsors AT&T and Comcast are helping make this tech fair a reality. In addition, Comcast will be on hand to explain the Affordable Connectivity Program. ACP, as it is known, helps ensure that households can afford the broadband they need for work, school, and more. It’s a program of the Federal Communications Commission. Chris Dunkeson, Area Vice President for Comcast says, “We are proud to support the City of Albuquerque’s Department of Senior Affairs and Adelante DiverseIT on their 50+ Senior Tech Connect Fair, aiming to bridge technology and digital literacy access for seniors across our community.”
Free Classes, Senior Tech Connect & More Ways to Learn
The tech fair is just one aspect of the work going on to help local seniors. First, there were a series of how-to videos. Those remain available on Adelante’s YouTube channel. Second, there is a free tech hotline. Seniors can call (505)503-4636 to ask their tech questions. Calls are answered in English and Spanish.
Third, DiverseIT is providing free computer classes for older adults. These classes are held at local senior and multigenerational centers. Topics include how to tell what is factual on the internet and how to avoid scams. There’s also a class that teaches how to unsubscribe from emails. Trainers are friendly. Questions are welcomed. A list of free classes can be found here. Fourth, the City is loaning computer tablets to seniors. In turn, DiverseIT is training people how to use those tablets.
The tech fair is the newest part of months of work. Together, the City of Albuquerque and Adelante DiverseIT are making a difference for local seniors.
How Did the Tech Training Come About?
During the pandemic, many of the community centers were closed. Quickly, the Department of Senior Affairs realized seniors were becoming isolated. Struggling to stay connected. Many older adults didn’t have computers. Or, they didn’t understand how to use their devices.
In addition, too many seniors were unable to order groceries online, register for a vaccine, or do an online health visit. Basically, they were not able to use tech in ways that became important during the health crisis. In response, the City enlisted the help of DiverseIT, a nonprofit resource of Adelante.
“Our senior population was one of the most deeply impacted by the pandemic and staying connected with loved ones became a struggle for many. The jump from a cell phone to a smart phone or even a laptop can be daunting without having support,” said Anna Sanchez, Director of Senior Affairs for the City of Albuquerque. “It has become important for us to provide hands on education to help our older adults feel comfortable with technology.”
The goal of DiverseIT is to improve diversity in tech. As part of that effort, DiverseIT offers training to people with disabilities, seniors, and people who are economically disadvantaged. Through training, people can understand and use technology. The team likes to say they help people become better digital citizens. That can mean teaching the basics of computer use. Of course, in-depth learning is an option. For example, people with disabilities are earning tech certifications through DiverseIT. It’s a great way to launch a new career.
Thanks to the Tech Connect Sponsors
The City and DiverseIT are organizing the 50+ Senior Tech Connect event. However, community partners are always needed. Thankfully, Comcast and AT&T have stepped up as sponsors for the event. Adelante is grateful for their help.
“AT&T proudly supports Adelante because of the lives that are improved so much by the work of this organization. The tech fair is just one more example,” says Bob Digneo, Director of External Affairs for AT&T New Mexico. Of course, AT&T supports a wide range of families including people who may have trouble paying for internet service. Bob added, “I encourage New Mexicans to contact their nearest Cricket stores to find out about discounted prices on wireless phones for low-income families, under the new national Affordable Connectivity Program.”
Information on the Affordable Connectivity Program can be found at acpbenefit.org. This will also be covered at the tech fair.
If you would like to be a sponsor for the tech fair, please contact Ernest Rodriguez Naaz at (505)449.4033 or ERNaaz@GoAdelante.org
Thanks to our current sponsors:
Make Sure Seniors Know About These Tech Resources!
Adelante is working on these tech resources to assist local seniors. Of course, the City of Albuquerque shares the goal of helping older adults access technology. However, this will only work if seniors know about these services and classes. Do you know seniors who want to learn about tech? Tell them about the tech fair! Help them enroll in a free computer class. Refer someone to the tech hotline. Together, we can make sure seniors know about these free tech services.