Seniors tech training program expanding across Niagara
Cyber Seniors teaches seniors to use their tech devices
by Satbir Singh
In an ever-growing world of technology, Spark Lincoln and Cyber-Seniors are continuing to work together by expanding its educational programming for seniors across the region.
Spark and Cyber-Seniors have seen success in areas such as Beamsville, St. Catharines and Welland. With an awarded grant, the program will be able to expand further into the region with 10 additional lab locations to allow for better access.
Cyber-Seniors’ mentoring program trains youth to mentor with seniors so that youth can use their advanced technology skills to help seniors learn the skills needed to operate their own devices, such as laptops, tablets and smartphones.
Cyber-Seniors and the Seniors’ Computer Lab Project teamed up to bring in Niagara College students to mentor seniors over the last year in several locations. Spark and Cyber-Seniors will now expand their efforts to include other post-secondary institutions and reach more seniors in the region.
Nancy Siciliana, senior education administrator for Spark Lincoln, added that the program is also looking to bring in tech-savvy seniors to help out.
“We are looking for seniors that would like to come in, learn about Cyber-Seniors, learn about the web portal and then administer the program,” said Siciliana. “We want the seniors that do have tech skills, that are knowledgeable, that are familiar with computers, would like to do volunteer work and share their talents with other seniors.”
Seniors wanting to come in to help administer don’t have to be expert-level in technology, but comfortable explaining and teaching devices to others.
Siciliana added Spark would like location recommendations from seniors, so the organization can decide on the best locations for each community it expands to based on needs for the community and accessibility for seniors.
“We can plan a location that’s a great idea to us, but then we find out seniors don’t like to go there because it’s difficult to park, for example,” she said.
Spark and Cyber-Seniors is looking to expand into areas such as Niagara Falls, Fort Erie, Port Colborne, Niagara-on-the-Lake, other southern parts of Niagara and Hamilton with specific locations still in the works.
The Cyber-Senior classes are free of charge and Siciliana says she has seen a lot of success, not only with seniors learning how to use technology, but the student mentors growing. She says the two groups learn a lot from each other and build relationships.
“Seniors are impressed by how much the youth know,” said Siciliana. “They understand there’s a paradigm shift in what young people start learning at a certain age and what we learned at that age.”
If you are interested in becoming a senior administrator for the Cyber-Seniors program or have a recommendation for a future Cyber-Seniors location in your area, contact Nancy Siciliana at firstname.lastname@example.org or 905-329-3124.