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Posted on Nov 19, 2018

Center hosting computer literacy classes for seniors

Seeking to get senior citizens more comfortable around new technology and with an eye on expanding classes throughout the winter, the Quincy Senior Center hosted a kickoff event for computer literacy Nov. 14.
About a dozen people had signed up for the event, which occurred after press time. The figure may sound low but was an encouraging one, the center’s director Stacia Soukup said.
The group, Soukup (pronounced SUE-cup) said the day before, would likely split into smaller groups at different tables, with each table addressing a different area: social media, internet safety, apps, and programs like Microsoft Office. Surface Pro tablets will be available, “so we can play with them and readily address the questions and concerns that arise,” Soukup said.
The need for technology and computer literacy programs is great, Soukup added.
“I would say it’s very much needed,” she said. “The elderly are into the technology, but some things, they just don’t understand how to navigate. It’s a different arena for them; I help someone weekly with their phone.”
Soukup went on to call the kickoff’s help “invaluable.”
Members of 4-H’s Tech Changemakers group would teach each area, 4-H adviser Jeannie Kiehn said.
“This is a little introductory kick-off to teach them what we do, so that they know what it’s about and they can get to feel more comfortable with it,” said Kiehn, who added that there will be more classes in the future, probably after the holidays are over to ensure the highest possible attendance and interest.
“I’m hoping there will be classes once a month,” Soukup said.
This is the second year of the project, which is sponsored by Microsoft and which seeks to improve the digital literacy of people in the Quincy Valley.
“Microsoft forged a partnership with National 4-H Council to help equip young people with the digital skills and resources they need to make a positive impact in their communities,” Lisa Karstetter, state manager for Microsoft TechSpark, has said. “It’s encouraging to see young leaders advocate for broader access to digital skills for both students and adults.”
Louis Raap, who took the classes last year, said the classes were “very good,” with the students doing an excellent job of teaching, in both Spanish and English.
“I’m 76 years old and so is my wife, Wanda, and we took the class,” he said. “They were very helpful. It’s too bad more people didn’t take the class then.”
Raap said he still uses the skills learned in that class.
“They spent a lot of time on precautions to take, warning us about fraudulent emails and people trying to scam us. It was a good class,” Raap said.

By Sebastian Moraga,