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Seniors learn computer skills, earn equipment

A dozen proud seniors graduated last month from a special computer class designed just for them at the Neighborhood House Rainier Vista Technology Center. Each received a computer, keyboard, monitor and mouse as a very practical reward for their achievement.
 
These ambitious seniors also received warm praises from their teacher, Neighborhood House’s Tsegaye Gebru, as he handed out their class completion certificates.
 
Since June, the students have completed five sessions totaling 10 hours to earn their certificate. The class was taught in English with Vietnamese interpretation provided.
 
Gebru formed the computer class in response to neighborhood survey that asked Rainier Vista residents about the types of classes they would like. Seniors expressed the desire to learn about how to use computers for employment, education and entertainment.
 
After learning about the hardware, students got to dive into e-mail, news, shopping online and how to search using Google. They also got experience with software applications such as Microsoft Word. In addition, they learned about computer safety practices and how to avoid being a victim of fraud.
 
When the students were asked about why they wanted to take the class and what they got out of it, they provided wide-ranging answers.
 
Georgia Anthony moved into Genesee House seven months ago. She has congestive heart failure and the doctor said she should keep her hands moving so they won’t go numb. She’s also using her newly-acquired computer knowledge to help her get her GED.
 
At 80 years old, Lien Khu was the classes’ oldest graduate. When asked why she was interested in the class she said she is “excited to learn things and have fun.”
 
Learning about computers was a family affair for Vay Nguyen and her granddaughter Kieu Tran. Tran, who attended class to help her grandmother, also got a certificate for completing the course.
 
Another reason why this graduation day was so exciting was that each graduate got a “like-new” computer from the YMCA.
 
The YMCA runs a program called Digital Image where instructors work with kids from who have dropped out of high school and may have even been living on the streets.
Instructors teach the youth to refurbish computers, a skill that could help them find direction or a job. The group then provides the computers to organizations like the Rainier Vista senior computer class, benefiting both young and old.
 
The Rainier Vista Technology Center offers a wide-variety of technology classes for the community, including resume writing, using the Internet to improve your health and a computer class for Chinese-speaking seniors. The Technology Center has received funding and support from the City of Seattle, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Comcast and Microsoft.
 
For more information on these classes and many others, contact Tsegaye Gebru at 206-461-4568, ext. 202 or by e-mail at tsegayeg@nhwa.org.
   
Rainier Vista seniors receive 
certificates for completing a basic
computer class at the Neighbor-
hood House Technology Center.