Dear Senior Planet Friends,
As we wind down the year and reflect on all that’s taken place, I want to take a moment to share a few thoughts from OATS and Senior Planet.
There is no question this has been our most successful year ever. We opened beautiful new Senior Planet Centers in Denver and Palo Alto and they are getting rave reviews for eye-catching design and the wonderful new staff and volunteers. We doubled the number of sites we are supporting in rural counties and won a patent designation for our rural technology training console. We had amazing success in our city-wide campaign against social isolation in San Antonio and secured a grant from the Humana Foundation for a second year of programs. And we struck powerful blows against ageism, launching a public service announcement on cable TV showcasing seniors lifting weights and doing digital art, and getting coverage for our co-working programs and fashion entrepreneurs in the MIT Technology Review and on PBS NewsHour. We trained at over 100 locations in six states, enrolling thousands of people in our free trainings and reaching over a million people with our fresh online content.
But daunting challenges remain. Rural seniors all over America face crushing isolation and are in dire need of technology training and support. Ageism continues to drive our society toward a model of age segregation, and open discrimination is common against older adults in employment and other spheres of life. A disturbing recent study found that seniors are seven times more likely to share mis-information on social media sites. And the latest statistics show one-quarter of older Americans remain offline—imagine what impact this is having on the lives of over 10 million older adults!
We’ve done a lot this year, but we need to do more. And with your support, we will do more. Next year we plan to nearly double the number of people we train at our Senior Planet and affiliated centers across the country. We are also working to extend Senior Planet sponsored trainings to over 1,800 rural counties. And most importantly, we want to continue to build membership and impact with the people who are part of the Senior Planet family—and that includes you!
I’ll ask three things of you.
First, make the most of your membership at Senior Planet by continuing to attend trainings and sharing our online content.
Second, use your new technology skills and knowledge to help another older adult overcome isolation, improve their finances, or stay healthy.
And finally, take a moment and donate to help OATS increase our impact. All of our direct programs are delivered free of charge to older adults, and we ask only that people make OATS a priority when it comes time for personal philanthropy. We simply cannot succeed without you, and I promise we will use every penny to good purpose.
I wish you and your loved ones the happiest of holidays and a healthy new year. Thank you for your support!
Thomas Kamber, PhD is the Executive Director of Older Adults Technology Services (OATS)
Note: The Senior Planet website and The Orbit will go on hiatus for the holiday season and return to a regular posting schedule on January 3, 2020.