Jasper County Senior Center Learns About Technology

Seniors Learn about Technology

More than two dozen Jasper County senior citizens took part in a technology learning session Monday with eight 4-H’ers present to aid the group with hands on lessons.

As part of AT&T’s continuing efforts to boost internet adoption, the company sponsored the technology class which sought to teach Jasper County senior citizens how to safely navigate the digital world.

From 2014 to 2016 alone, AT&T invested more than $5 billion in wireless and wireline networks in Georgia. As private industry continues to invest to close the limited, remaining connectivity gap in rural areas, a key focus of the new statewide technology initiative is on increasing internet adoption.
To help boost internet adoption rates, the new technology program pairs Georgia 4-H student trainers with senior users and uses AT&T’s Digital You curriculum to share how to have a safe and secure online experience. The personal one-on-one training results in benefits to all participants. Seniors enjoy an increased understanding of technology. And, student trainers sharpen invaluable leadership and interpersonal skills, helping prepare them to graduate career and college ready.

“High-speed internet has quickly become a preferred way to access information and communicate,” said Paul Chambers, AT&T Georgia Regional Director of External and Legislative Affairs, who attended the event. “We believe that enabling dedicated students to engage and inform Georgia seniors on the many benefits of digital literacy will help boost internet adoption rates and further connect our state.”

“With support from AT&T and Georgia 4-H, more of Georgia’s seniors are being enabled with important digital tools that assist in monitoring and managing nutritional and medical needs and increasing interaction with the ones they love,” said State Representative Susan Holmes. “A special thanks to AT&T and our Georgia 4-H students for working with our seniors, especially in the more rural parts of our state.”

The 4-H’ers assisting the seniors included five Jasper County 4-H’ers Lauren Hicks, Allie Alexander, Isabella Waddell, Adelyn Walls, and Makya West as well as three members of the state 4-H Tech Team who led the program including C.J. Harris and Lavender Harris from Newton County and Taralee Runyan from Madison County. Cheryl Varnadoe with the state 4-H office was present as the Tech Team advisor.

Mr. Chambers was there representing AT&T while Rep. Holmes and husband, Paul Holmes, also attended with well-wishes for the hometown constituents. Jasper County commissioners Carl Pennamon and Don Jernigan along with County Manager Mike Benton made appearances as well.

“Our amazing Georgia 4-H students are working directly with seniors to illustrate the importance of digital literacy and safety for all generations,” stated Arch Smith, Director of Georgia 4-H. “Our Georgia 4-H students are working with seniors on an array of digital tasks – everything from learning how to video chat with friends and family, program security locks and codes to protect devices and personal data, post photos on Facebook and use calendar and reminder apps for things like doctor’s appointments. Georgia 4-H is proud to collaborate with AT&T and excited to launch this training initiative, enhancing support in our communities – urban and rural.”
The Jasper County Senior Center along with the Barrow County Center, the Elbert County Senior Center, the Monroe County Senior Center and the Moultrie Senior Center are the centers hosting the #GACyberSeniors pilot program in December.

“Technology is no longer something seniors avoid, and #GACyberSeniors aims to help our seniors safely embrace the many benefits of digital literacy,” stated Tracy Norton, Director of the Jasper County Senior Center. “Improving the digital skills of everyone is key to Georgia’s future, and I applaud AT&T and our Georgia 4-H students as they work to ensure the digital transition is effortless for seniors across Georgia.”

Through Digital You, AT&T has collaborated with prominent national organizations such as Common Sense, The OASIS Institute, and AARP to increase digital literacy as well as local organizations across the country to assemble and promote expert online safety information in number of formats.