Seniors Training Seniors Learn-a-thon a Win-Win

Senior man using computer

If you build it, they will come  

Taking a big risk, the Seniors Training Seniors computer skills training program launched an intensive marathon of "Computer Basics" classes and labs for the Seattle Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens (MOSC) Employment Resource Center clients in July 2015. Computer Basics classes have been offered before, but not back-to-back, with attendant labs for each level, over an entire month. The preparation was intense and well worth it!

Prior to announcing the classes, we collaborated with Seattle Public Library on curriculum design. Our long-standing curriculum and theirs were combined to provide consistency in crossover training. Several students who completed the level one class at the MOSC were able to take level two class at the library, and vice-versa, for seamless teaching and learning.

The risk paid off. More than 50 mature jobseekers registered for the limited-seating classes and labs of their choosing during the month of July.

Volunteers make the difference

We designed it, and they registered, now … who would teach it? Energetic and ongoing recruitment to replace retiring volunteers and to staff new classes this past year had been hugely successful but, by mid-June, no one had raised his or her hand to teach during the Computer Basics learn-a-thon.

SeniorCorps director Dr. Erwin Tan, who serves as the expert U.S. source for the Salute to Senior Service℠ program, has said, "Whether they serve every day or a few times a year, older volunteers contribute to the health and vitality of their communities …."

Tim Dobler

Tim Dobler's interest in teaching during the summer provided a win-win solution for all.

Enter Timothy Dobler. A new volunteer instructor, Tim arrived ready and eager to start. And he wanted to teach classes during the summer. Tim comes from a long and diverse background in accounting, with an added bonus—teaching experience. He reviewed the final curriculum and provided input on the final design.

Tim taught to full classes and received excellent reviews. We look forward to working with him again—hopefully in Summer 2016, when we present another Computer Basics learn-a-thon. This was a win-win for all.

Ongoing learning opportunities

In the meantime, the Seniors Training Seniors program continues to schedule and staff as many Computer Basics classes as the Employment Resource Center client list demands, and shares other helpful information and resources. Among those are Seattle Public Library's Wi-Fi hotspot devices that are available for checkout to use at home—a boon for mature jobseekers who don't have computers or Internet access at home. The only requirement—a free library card.

If you are a Seattle resident age 55 or older who is looking for work but your computer skills need refreshing, you can register with the MOSC Employment Resource Center. For more information, call 206-684-0500 or e-mail seniors@seattle.gov. Once registered, you can e-mail me for information about upcoming computer classes (see below).

New volunteers always welcome

If you are an older adult with prior volunteer and/or teaching experience and you have been contemplating a make-a-difference opportunity, e-mail me to learn about Seniors Training Seniors volunteer teaching corps opportunities. Younger adults (age 18 or older) may apply for assistant positions.


Contributor Lynda Hunter coordinates the Seniors Training Seniors program in the Seattle Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens, located in The Central Building, 810 Third Avenue (between Columbia & Marion Streets in downtown Seattle). E-mail Lynda at Lynda.Hunter@seattle.gov for class offerings and volunteer opportunities.