Home USA News This Pierce County city offers free tech classes for seniors

This Pierce County city offers free tech classes for seniors

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As phones and laptops evolve over time, users choose to stay stagnant or adapt.

Some seniors in Milton chose the latter when the city and local school district began offering free technology workshops this fall.

The City of Milton recently partnered with Fife High School Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) to provide workshops for seniors on how to navigate commonly used devices such as smartphones and laptops.

FBLA is an organization that helps students develop business skills through things like career-related competitive events, chapter projects and leadership initiatives, according to an email from Martin Moore, the city’s community outreach coordinator.

Communication through technology has become crucial, especially during the pandemic, said high school sophomore Riley Harwood. She likes to help the elderly with this.

High school sophomores Madison Reed and Marguerite Schoenfeldt said the same thing.

“I like knowing we’re having an impact,” Schoenfeldt said.

The first seminar was held on September 16. About six students gave an overview of what smartphones and laptops can do. The Oct. 21 workshop delved into smartphones and apps, among other things.

Milton resident Harriet Kring attended both workshops. She said she’s usually skeptical about the need to do things online. The students help reduce her skepticism and boost her confidence, she said.

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Riley Harwood, a sophomore at Fife High School and a member of the Future Business Leaders of America School, presents steps for sending an email to seniors at the Milton Activity Center on Friday, Oct. 21, 2022, in Milton, Wash. Fife High School’s FBLA program hosts a free monthly workshop for seniors in the community to teach them how to use commonly used devices such as smartphones and laptops. Pete Custer Pete Custer/The News Tribune

“There’s a lot of terminology in technology that we don’t know,” Kring said.

The workshop includes a presentation, question and answer session, activities, and individual and group discussions. Workshops are held every third Friday of the month until June 2023. Topics vary.

Mayor Shanna Styron-Sherrell said one of her missions is to create more programs for seniors and youth. The tech workshops “make perfect sense,” she said, because some seniors need help with technology that students can help with.

The next workshop is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 18, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the Milton Activity Center at 1000 Laurel St. Students will talk about fraud and how to detect and avoid it in the virtual world. Participants do not need to register in advance.

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Fife High School students in the Future Business Leaders of America group help seniors during a free monthly workshop on navigating technology Friday, Oct. 21, 2022, at the Milton Activity Center in Milton, Washington. Pete Custer Pete Custer/The News Tribune

Angelica Relente covers topics affecting the East Pierce County community. In June 2021, after graduating from Washington State University, she worked as a newsroom intern. She was born in the Philippines and spent the rest of her childhood in Hawaii.

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