NYCHA Stories

Vernell: Connecting with Family and Long-Lost Friends

Meet Vernell, a member of our Connected NYCHA program! We spoke with Vernell about her experience using her new internet-connected tablet and how it has helped her reconnect with family and long-lost friends. You can learn more about the Connected NYCHA initiative here.


Have you ever used a tablet before? 

I had one before but I lost it! I was happy when I was offered this one because I was using my phone for Facetiming my family and the bigger screen makes huge a difference. 

What did receiving this tablet mean to you? 

It meant I had more people to talk to! One of my old friends even surprised me by video calling through Facebook Messenger. I saw her name pop up and thought, “What in the world?” I didn’t know how to answer the call but my son told me to just hit the button and not be afraid, so I pushed it and the next thing I knew she was right there! We were crying and screaming with happiness. It had been maybe 8 or 10 years since we’d seen each other. 

What do you like about the tablet? 

It helps me get organized! I used to write everything down and have all these stickies and post-its but now all my appointments, classes, everything is in one place, and the calendar app even reminds me where I need to be.   

I love the cooking programs you can get on the device. I even do all my banking on the tablet! I don’t need to be running to the bank – everything is connected and I can do it right from my room. It helps you with your everyday life! 

What Senior Planet offerings are you enjoying? 

I’m taking Android Essentials now. It’s a really good class and it has made me want to do more! It’s like, I learn one thing and then I want to do something else in it. 

Any words of advice for other people in the program? 

Don’t be scared to use it! Just go ahead and play with it. But most importantly, take the class! 

What does aging with attitude mean to you? 

That means that I am going to stay perky! And I am not going to let this pandemic get me down. 

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