Learning for adults has taken on new meaning with recent co-operation of the Ponoka Senior Drop-In Centre and Ponoka Adult Learning (PAL).
George MacKenzie, director of the centre wanted a way to give seniors more opportunities to learn computer skills and other computer classes. To do that he recently approached Tanjia Heyden-Kaye, co-ordinator of PAL, to provide an accessible class to seniors.
Working with the Drop-In Centre made sense to Heyden-Kaye who was looking for a way to make such classes readily available to older students. “I thought that would be great.”
She helped the centre put together a grant application to Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) to buy 10 new laptops and has already been able to bring a class to the senior members.
“This isn’t specifically for seniors, the beginner computer lessons are available to anyone but mostly seniors take them,” added Heyden-Kaye.
She was at the centre April 27 for a Microsoft Excel class that is offered by Norbert Dworzyinski, owner of SOS Business Solutions. He is an information technology specialist and he showed a small class how to make full use of the program. Those who completed the lesson are able to use that in their professional lives, he said. “It’s a way to organize data to review what you are or what you have done…The other thing they’re (students) going to get learning here is confidence.”
He feels a program such as Excel helps people prepare budgets and even plan their lives.
Vivian Vogel attended the class because she wanted the skills for her professional development. “You often see it in job requirements knowing about this program.”
She signed up for the class because of its location and time. “It’s also been easy to work around my schedule.”
Dworzyinski has already taught a computer basics class to seniors at the centre and intends on teaching more.
For Heyden-Kaye the ability to bring classes to seniors has been a positive experience. “One of the challenges of my job is being able to provide a location for adult learning classes.”
Usually she would have hired a teacher who brought in their own computers, which became cost-prohibitive for seniors on a budget.
“I can’t charge them $200 each for a basic computer class,” she said.
Now the Senior’s Drop In Centre provides a location and tools to give adults more computer lessons at a reasonable cost. She is grateful PAL and the centre have been able to work together on this project.
MacKenzie said the work of PAL, FCSS, the Drop-In Centre and the Ponoka Literacy Project all worked together on this project. “That is, to me, the really neat feature of the whole thing.”