Students sitting around a classroom table

Live Well at Home Program at Horn Towers

LNA’s Education Program is expanding digital access for elder community members at Horn Towers

It’s a dream come true!

Lyndale’s adult education program was awarded a very exciting grant from the MN Department of Human Services’ “Live Well at Home” program through summer 2022. This program helps organizations to provide MN elders (ages 65+) with expanded resources within their homes and communities, in order to avoid isolation, remain healthy and to grow and thrive as the valuable community members they are. Lyndale Education’s project, targets digital access for elders living at Horn Towers public housing site, where we have been fortunate to serve English learners since 2016. The project is a result of years of feedback and observation from working with elders at this location and we are thrilled to be underway!

LNA’s Live Well at Home Program goals include:

-providing Wi-fi free of cost to all residents in common spaces at Horn Towers;

-providing Wi-fi, laptops and tech accessories (i.e. computer bags, mice, earbuds and more) free of cost to all of our elder program participants (est. 60-80 residents by summer of 2022);

-teaching free digital literacy courses Mon-Thurs on basic computer skills, including course availability for English learners and those only seeking computer skills instruction;

-supporting new computer users and Wi-fi havers with regular tech support staff and volunteers;

-connecting participants to community meetings virtually from home;

-creating a one-stop custom website targeted toward our elder participants’ goals for using computers (i.e. health management resources, English-learning and computer skills practice sites, ways to contact friends and family online, local and global news and information, etc.). We’ll be building a free digital library featuring Somali-language instructional videos (with English subtitles) demonstrating skills like creating an e-mail address, logging into an account and so on;

-and lots more!

At Horn Towers at the end of July, LNA’s Live Well at Home Coordinator/Instructor Rosalind Bloodworth and our Digital Access Support Specialist Fociya Osman (along with Abshi Mohamed) helped future learners in our digital literacy program for elders to register and take intake tests to determine their English level.

Recruitment has been very successful (we had over 30 residents attend our first intake sessions last week!) and classes begin today! COVID restrictions are being enforced, of course, including sanitation of hands, equipment and tables, and enforcement of a participant policy requiring temp-taking, mask-wearing and disclosure of COVID-like symptoms, risks and vaccination status–which also applies to teachers and volunteers. Safety first!

It’s time to get rolling. We are so excited to get laptops into our participants’ hands and build some digital access!

So many levels of tests to check our learners’ English reading ability! Live Well at Home Coordinator/Instructor Rosalind Bloodworth has worked with Minneapolis Public Housing staff since February to get Wi-Fi set up in common areas of Horn Towers public housing site (free to all residents), to order and prepare laptops and tech accessories to distribute to elder participants free of cost, and to create digital literacy curriculum for our classes starting the first week of August!