“We Didn’t Know Anything about Computers”
“I thought they were trying to sell me a computer until they told me it was a program at Meals on Wheels,” says Jose Castro of his and his wife Pauline’s introduction to Connecting Seniors with Technology (CSWT).
CSWT is our free service that helps older adults increase their knowledge and comfort level with computers and technology. This program is funded and supported in part by the City of Austin through the Grant for Technology Opportunities Program. MOWCTX provides technological hardware and training to help isolated seniors and individuals with disabilities learn to connect with the internet and the outside world. All tutoring is done by dedicated CSWT volunteers.
The Castros, who are clients of our home-delivered meals program, were eager to sign up for CSWT. “We didn’t know anything about computers,” says Ms. Castro. “I couldn’t wait until whoever it was was going to come teach us,” she adds.
Their teacher turned out to be Elisa Saslavsky, a longtime Meals on Wheels volunteer who decided to also donate her time to CSWT. “Being a Meals on Wheels volunteer all of these years, you recognize the loneliness and the separation some people have from being in their homes all of the time,” she says. After attending an introductory training session, she was assigned the Castros. “I started with them back in November. I [taught] them how to log onto a computer, what a password is, how to treat your password, what to do to get into the computer, and then from there we kind of went with their likes and interests. They’ve been so much fun to work with,” Ms. Saslavsky says of her pupils.
Six months later, the Castros are able to navigate the internet and send emails without any assistance. “We’re not great, but we’re giving it a try and it’s helping us a lot,” says Mr. Castro. “Elisa was such a great teacher,” his wife adds.
Ms. Saslavsky says she believes she got just as much out of the experience: “I find it extremely rewarding. It makes me feel good knowing that I’ve opened their world to something bigger.”
Our Connecting Seniors with Technology Program is looking for volunteers – particularly in East Austin. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!