March 22—About 20 Lawrence County residents took a step closer to becoming more computer-savvy on Friday.
A Connect with Tech event was held Friday at St. Luke’s AME Zion Church. The event has been set up for people who are not computer experts or have visual or hearing impairments. The ongoing event, sponsored by St. Luke and Community Living and Support Services (CLASS) of Pittsburgh, was funded by TechOWL, a Temple University program that purchased 5,000 tablet computers and other assistive devices.
Instructor Christina Kraemer, CLASS’s Assistive Technology Coordinator, took the entries at the event. Attending Kraemer at the event was University of Pittsburgh intern Aaron Rogers.
“We want to help people in need stay connected to their families and communities by breaking down communication barriers,” Kraemer said. “We offer phones with big buttons. We offer phones with 50 decibel volume. We offer phones with captions. appellant. three years.”
“We want all residents to be able to access telehealth medical appointments, attend zoom meetings, access virtual training events, etc. We’re even helping secure access points for those who don’t have Internet access.”
Participants completed their requests with TechOWL’s lending library to borrow a tablet computer free of charge for nine weeks. The tablets will be shipped to them within the next four to six weeks and the recipients will receive individual instructions on how to use the tablets, which will be equipped with at least one program such as Zoom or Gmail of the customer’s choice. .
This program is open to residents of Pennsylvania who are elderly, or homeless, low-income, non-English proficient/with limited English proficiency, LGBTQ, or with health disparities.
The program also offers free large print landlines and/or cellphones for the visually impaired, hearing impaired or those with cognitive difficulties in lieu of a tablet computer.
TechOWL is Pennsylvania’s Assistive Technology Act program and is federally funded to operate a free lending library and help people with disabilities explore the tools and technology they need to be independent and teach them how to use those tools and devices.
Those in Lawrence County who are interested in a special tablet or phone can still request the equipment and training by contacting Rev. Mitzila Hogans at St. Luke’s AME Church at (724) 656-0551 or emailing at [email protected] com.
People in Mercer County who are interested can contact Dee Heckman, Independence Community Resource Manager at 3875 E. State Street, Suite B in Hermitage or by calling (724) 347-4121.