SeniorLink in Belleville Offers Computer Classes



Seniors in Belleville have a place to go to learn just about anything they need to know when it comes to computers and the internet.

Programs and Services for Older Persons (PSOP) at Southwestern Illinois College is offering memberships to the SeniorLink computer club.

According to Julie Hughes, the director of SeniorLink, classes are available for people who have never turned a computer on before to those who are looking to sharpen what skills they already have. 

“We get everything from the true novice to people who have somewhat of a foundation, but if there are holes in that foundation, we try to fill them in,” she said.

Basic classes subjects include Windows, social media and working with basic office applications. Additionally, classes covering smartphones and tablets are available. 

SeniorLink classes are taught by a volunteer staff. Anyone over 50 years old can join for a one-time fee of $35. Hughes said that fee will increase to $40 this fall. Members of the club also have free access to the computer lab outside of class hours.

Janet Mann used a computer at work for many years, but she only knew the applications associated with her job. When she purchased a home computer, she accidentally crashed it, losing all of her photos and other files.

With bruised confidence in technology, she went to purchase a new machine at Office Depot. A salesperson there recommended the SeniorLink classes to help her get back up on the proverbial horse.

“I knew that I could turn it on and use it, but I was getting into a lot of trouble with it and didn’t know what to do,” Mann said. “Even though you think you have a certain amount of knowledge, there are still steps and procedures that you learn to do things in the proper way.”

Patricia Mugica, a volunteer instructor with SeniorLink, said she enjoys overseeing the classes.

“When they finally get that ‘ah-ha’ moment when they’re using a computer, it’s like a whole world has opened up to them and they feel a lot more confident… It’s an awesome program. I’m really happy to be part of it.”

Mugica added that knowledge of the internet is becoming essential to perform a multitude of needed tasks in everyday life.

Student Kay Hudzik agrees. She and her husband decided to get online when she found out they would need to do their taxes online.

“My husband and I figured that we’d need to get a new computer and learn how to (use it),” she said, adding that she’s taking the class to sharpen her overall computer skills.

Instructor Jan Scott said it’s important to keep her students at ease.

“I don’t want them coming in and being afraid of anything,” she said. “I want them to know this is going to be a fun class… I went through the same thing they did. I can show them how to just be comfortable with it and have fun with it.”

For more information on SeniorLink computer classes, contact Hughes, 618-234-4410, ext. 7018.

Tags: Computer Classes, education, SeniorLink, seniors, Southwest Illinois College

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