Photo: George Janske receives his graduation package delivered by CEI in anticipation of the graduation ceremony.
In July, we featured a Partner Spotlight for the Center for Elders’ Independence (CEI) highlighting the valued partnership between CEI and CTN. Today, we are pleased to share news about the recent graduation of the first cohort of isolated seniors who celebrated their digital learning accomplishments. The Zoom graduation hosted by CEI welcomed 33 participants, including staff from both organizations, as well as 11 special guests of honor — our senior learners. As you can imagine, it was so meaningful and every bit as rowdy as an in-person graduation event.
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) provides funding for this partnership. The pre-COVID training agreement was designed for in-person digital literacy classes, which were modified due to the pandemic. The new program was designed during a series of weekly meetings with team members from both agencies. Our early Home Connect program experience helped ensure a smooth transition to the remote learning platform. Prospective students from a variety of CEI locations were invited to be in the pilot group and borrowed iPads from CEI. The one-hour weekly classes kicked off in late May.
CEI pulled out all the stops to celebrate this first graduation event. They delivered a package to each graduate containing a mortarboard, a gift box of goodies, a letter of accomplishment, and a “diploma” signed by CEI staff and CTN staff instructor Jannell Q. Mateo Rivas. Although the learners are still using iPads on loan from CEI, they have been promised donated iPads of their own from CEI.
Here are a few quotes from students shared during the Zoom ceremony, summing up the older adult learners’ responses to the program:
- The training improved my life, that’s for sure!
- You gave us confidence.
- Jannell, thank you for your patience — you had a LOT of patience.
- We have proved to ourselves that we can still do things.
- Our lives DID get better — the CEI model.
- We met a lot of new friends through the participants from other CEI locations.
- Putting my mind at work as I have dementia.
- Keeps me sane.
- I now have a choice of activities, a choice of things to do besides just sitting around.
- Both organizations eagerly await the next graduating class.