Over the past year plus, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and talking with so many people on the wrong side of the digital divide. From grandmothers raising their grandchildren alone, to single heads of household, and recently arrived immigrants wanting desperately to get connected for the sake of their children’s schoolwork, among others. But I have to say, the retired seniors always make me smile. I had no idea seniors were into social media.
Over the past six months, I’ve been working on several digital literacy projects within Miami-Dade County specifically aimed at getting seniors connected with a device they can afford and then teaching them how to use it. When these projects first began to take shape, I thought about my own parents who marveled at Google but were terrified of breaking my iPad to really give learning how to use it the old college try. I soon discovered my parents might be the minority of seniors left behind by the digital age.
In Little Havana, seniors living in affordable housing on limited incomes were clamoring for the Internet. They wanted to watch their telenovelas online because they didn’t have a DVR and couldn’t afford cable TV. Many of them live alone and knew they could video chat with their children and grandchildren from across the country, and they heard that Facebook was insanely entertaining. Some were looking to get a part time job just to get out of the house but getting around was difficult. I even met authors–in their 80s– interested in learning how to self-publish their memoirs.
Your $10 contribution on Give Miami Day–November 17–can improve the quality of life for our senior citizens by keeping their Internet connected for a whole month. $120 can connect a household for an entire year. Help us keep our seniors happy and engaged with their families and communities. Help us get EveryoneOn! Learn more at http://everyoneon.org/givemiamiday/.
Maribel Martinez is EveryoneOn’s regional manager in Miami. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.