Columbia Basin Alliance For Literacy program gets seniors online

Just because the Internet has changed the way some people communicate nowadays, there are still those who haven’t quite ventured online and learned to navigate in cyber space.

Just because the Internet has changed the way some people communicate nowadays, there are still those who haven’t quite ventured online and learned to navigate in cyber space.

A non-profit organization that offers free workshops in Greater Trail is addressing this need with an eight-week adult basic computer course that teaches word processing, file management, formatting text, creating tables, email and using the Internet.

This Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL) program is open to adults, though there seems to be an onslaught of seniors looking to get connected.

“The word senior is one I don’t use very often,” said Trail councillor Eleanor Gattafoni Robinson, who took the course a couple years ago and encourages other to do the same. “The age to me is irrelevant. I think a person should do it because they want to enhance their life and be in the know.”

Working as an accountant clerk at Teck prior to retirement, Gattafoni Robinson was familiar with computers but felt she needed to touch up on her online communication skills.

“I was afraid, but I’m not anymore,” she said. “You kind of feel intimidated if you don’t know what it’s all about and I think this program really emphasizes that everybody can do it.”

This was the third free literacy program Trail resident Norman Merke took advantage of – attending CBAL’s open learning centre at Selkirk College Fridays and taking in a photo workshop in the spring.

“It’s amazing how many people say, ‘where is the ‘on’ button?’” said Merke.

“This is the way everything is going – to electronics – and I don’t think anyone should shy away from it.”

The adult basic computer course is one of the many free workshops put on by CBAL, which was created as a regional network to support literacy in the Columbia Basin and Boundary communities.

“As the world changes and evolves so, too, does the definition of what it means to be literate,” said Desneiges Profili, community literacy coordinator. “Reading, writing and numeracy is at the core of what we do but with that, the understanding of what literacy is has expanded to include any and all skills that are needed to be successful.”

Spreading word on the value of literacy, CBAL is taking it a step further next Wednesday in a “Reach A Reader” fundraiser.

In conjunction with the Trail Daily Times and the Black Press, politicians and local hockey players will be giving away the Times by donation in downtown Trail and Fruitvale.

The money raised will go directly toward funding Greater Trail literacy programs.

“Often in our programs people will ask, ‘is this really free?’” said Profili. “For those who want to make a contribution, I would encourage them to go out and buy a paper on Oct. 5.”

The adult basic computer course starts next Tuesday at Glenmerry Elementary School running from 6-7:30 p.m.

To register, contact Profili at 364-1275 (extension 247) or via email at dprofili@cbal.org

To find out more information on CBAL programs check out www.cbal.org or call Profili.