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New Website Launched to Bridge Generations – Bridging Generations through Technology, Information, Media and Engagement

COLUMBIA, SC – Recognizing that senior citizens in the Midlands have much to contribute to civic dialogue, and young citizens lead the way in new technology usage, a consortium of area institutions, led by Central Carolina Community Foundation, have launched an initiative to provide seniors with the platform and skills to re-engage with their community.

BGTIME and the website are made possible through a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and funding from Central Carolina Community Foundation.  The program is coordinated in the University of South Carolina’s renowned IFRA Newsplex multimedia facility.  There, students from the University of South Carolina and Benedict College are trained and then dispatched to senior centers and other community organizations, to provide guidance and the skills necessary to use this online community forum.

“We are proud to work with our program partners to ensure that significant progress is made in giving our community’s seniors a digital voice,” said JoAnn Turnquist, Central Carolina Community Foundation President & CEO.  “Our participating seniors may be ‘tourists to technology’ but with the help of our student mentors, they will be savvy travelers.”

The student mentors receive a weeklong training course in Newsplex similar to those given to the facility’s professional clients.  The students learn how to write for the Internet, create audio podcasts as well as shoot and edit video.  The students are then paired with seniors to train them not only to access information from the Internet, but also to contribute their personal stories and perspectives.

“We have great students and it is exciting to watch what happens as they work with our seniors,” said Randy Covington, IFRA Newsplex Director.

The first students were trained over the summer and are working with seniors to develop their digital skills. Additional students and seniors began working in the fall semester.  The training program is currently offered in a diverse senior community center and two retirement communities and will expand as the program evolves.

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