Greater Providence YMCA and Wiggins Village bridging the education gap for seniors

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. --- The Greater Providence YMCA has partnered with Winn Residential Company for an initiative that would help serve 35 families in the Wiggins Village apartment complex with tablets and other important resources to help bridge the gap of education.

The program will provide 35 tablets for senior citizens in the Wiggins Village apartment complex located in the heart of the West End of Providence. The program also includes a translator, a program coordinator who will offer weekly office hours and coordinate weekly group meetings to review the best practices for usage of the tablets, hand sanitizers and PPE. There will be Wi-Fi hot spots, however, some residents will require a viable internet connection.

Dwayne Keys, the Chairperson of the South Providence Neighborhood Association is happy this is happening and has spoken out about the resources many communities of color lack. “I love it,” Keys said. “I’m so glad to hear that is happening. Given the digital divide we’ve been talking about since the late 90’s when the internet first became mainstream, we’ve always had historically excluded groups such as communities of color. We’ve also had low-to-moderate income families, families such as those who live in Wiggins Village and first time English language-learners who’ve just been left out. It is simple, easy and will provide other computer amenities that those who can afford a desktop or laptop can do.”

The families selected primarily consist of low-income families of grandparents ages 60 and older who live with adults and children or care for a K-12 student relative. With a population of approximately 92 seniors, the senior and family population in Wiggins Village makes up 98 percent Latino and African-Americans; many of those have struggled due to a lack of resources and financial support.

"The Greater Providence YMCA is continuing to "pivot" our resources to assist those most in need,” said Greater Providence YMCA CEO Steve O’Donnell. “In conjunction with the Office of Healthy Aging, we will be providing tablets to assist parents and grandparents who are caregivers to children for distance learning in both Spanish & English. This is community work at its finest!"

“The YMCA of Greater Providence is outstanding. The work that they’re doing is fantastic,” said Wayne Montague, Director of Community Relations at Winn Residential Company. I thank CEO Steve O’Donnell, Kobi Dennis [Director of Equity and Inclusion] for the great work they’re doing, and everyone who works for the YMCA because it’s a team effort. Before, during and coming out of the pandemic, they’ve done great things.”

“Think of how today people have to apply for jobs online, think of how so many of our everyday transactions and things we do are being moved online because it's easier and it's cheaper,” said Keys. “Not if you don’t have devices such as a tablet to do them.”

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Category: News