Digital competency and connectivity are paramount to our mission because seniors who are “unreachable” are at risk in this society. Our focus in 2022 is on closing this access and competence gap. Foundational to Gateway’s mission is the new SmartSeniors/Smartphones© (SS/Sp) project, launching this spring to empower seniors to utilize the resources available to them by teaching them how to navigate in the virtual world.
The program is built around our GTEAM of volunteer peer coaches who have been trained in human-centered design. Volunteers will establish relationships with older residents who are reluctant or untutored users of technology and help them adopt the technology skills they need. Through meetings between clients, peer coaches and technology experts, we will design individual Internet Connectivity Plans to assess basic skills and needs. The teams will utilize our strategically developed library of tutorials and other materials for training. If you are a tech savvy individual who would like to volunteer for peer coaching in our program, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (973) 518 3867.
Goal: To initiate a pilot study of 25 trainees who strive to improve their personal smart phone usage and whose motivation, skill level, and financial need fit the Gateway project criteria. The objectives are to test training hypotheses & evaluation instruments, to reevaluate the effectiveness of the process, and to continuously improve the process (CPI).
Implementation Partners include MSU Graduate School of Social Work and MPL. Some typical objectives might be how to get on-line, use email, Zoom, search the internet, contact grandchildren, conduct on-line business (e.g., banking), participate in tele-health visits, identify scams, take on-line educational courses, etc.
Montclair Gateway does not intend to reinvent the wheel or create redundant services – that is the beauty and the leverage point of a virtual enterprise. Gateway wants to support expansion of access to services. Expansion requires connectivity to and competency in accessing the resources of the digital world. Through the Gateway TEAM (GTEAM) process, we will demonstrate to each trainee how access to these partner organizations will empower them and expand their community involvement.
Many of our collaborators already provide digital services, but older residents who are cut off from our digital world are cut off from these resources, too. Our goal is to bridge this gap in order to help Montclair seniors age in place.
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