BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — The holidays may be going virtual for many Americans this year, and one non-profit in Boston is helping older residents get connected.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has been urging everyone in the Commonwealth to skip holiday parties this year and only celebrate with members of the same household.
Dan Noyes, Co-CEO of the non-profit Tech Goes Home, said the organization is teaming up with the City and AT & T to provide Chromebook laptops, internet access and training to seniors in the community.
“I have no doubt that we’ll get those seniors up and running very quickly,” Noyes said. "They’ll learn how to video chat, or how to send an email, and the added benefit too is the learning doesn’t stop there. We focus on communication with seniors, but we also focus on items like Telehealth.”
AT & T donated $30,000 to the non-profit this year, to help in their efforts to hopefully assist around 50 seniors.
Noyes said a lack of digital communication skills has been an issue for seniors before the Covid-19 pandemic, but with many events moving remote this year, it has been "exacerbated."
Tech Goes Home was originally founded in 2000 to "empower communities" to access digital tools for communicate in a variety of age groups. According to their website, they have graduated 22,000 learners from their programs and distributed 14,500 new computers in the past five years.
"[We] take a group of seniors and give them tools they need—a computer , internet access, and the skills they need to digitally communicate with their loved ones who might be abroad," Noyes said. "Or their grandkids who might not even know how to answer a phone these days, you know?”
This year's program replaces an annual "holiday calls" event at Boston City Hall that typically helps seniors contact their loved ones who are overseas during the holidays, and it is expected to start "very soon."
WBZ NewsRadio's James Rojas (@JamesRojasWBZ) reports.