|Public Information Office
310 Owen Hall, Campus PO 1820
Asheville, NC 28804-8507
828/251/6526 FAX: 828/251-6777
|For Immediate Release
November 7, 2001
N.C. Center for Creative Retirement and UNCA Take Intergenerational Approach to Provide Free Computer Literacy Classes for Older Adults
A UNCA computer lab is filled with older adults at the keyboards and younger students at their sides as the first session of a free computer literacy program wraps up this week. The N.C. Center for Creative Retirement's new program, funded in part by a $10,000 grant from Smith Barney's Citigroup Foundation, is designed for mid- and low-income older adults. So many people wanted to sign up that two classes, totaling about 35 participants, were launched this fall. During the six-week course, participants have learned basic computer skills, and how to use e-mail and the Internet.
Among those taking their first class on the UNCA campus is John E. Lane, 85, from Black Mountain. Lane, who worked for the Employment Security Commission and helped recruit the first staff people for UNCA's expansion in the 1970s, is thrilled to be a student in the program. He's especially pleased that UNCA undergraduates, who teach the course, are patient and understanding of beginners. "I tried taking a class elsewhere, but it went too fast. I've learned more in this class already," he said.
Gerlinde Lutz, who has lived on a farm in Leicester for the past 11 years, had never set foot on the UNCA campus until she signed up for the basic computer class. Her children, who live in four states including Hawaii, have been after her to learn how to e-mail so they can have more frequent contact. "I heard about this on the radio," she said, "and thought the timing was right."
The seven UNCA students who are teaching the classes -- freshman Ashley Lusk, sophomore Jessica Buhl, and seniors Becky Guy, Joshua Sturdevant, Sarah Hammann, Andrea Rhyne and Elizabeth Massey -- come from a variety of backgrounds, but all are planning on teaching careers.
"The program is consistent with UNCA's mission to be a multigenerational campus," said NCCCR Director Ron Manheimer. "We're thrilled that UNCA students are sharing in the rich lives of older people while assisting them in learning a new skill that will help them stay connected."
NCCCR's Smith Barney Intergenerational Computer Literacy Program will offer another set of classes this spring.
For more information, call the N.C. Center for Creative Retirement at 251-6140.
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