Seniors Get Digital Skills Training To Reach Out To Lonely Seniors During Pandemic

Thursday, November 19, 2020 - by Cindy Todd, Goodwill Industries

After suffering a financial setback due to medical expenses while fighting cancer, Patricia Holden, 72, realized she couldn’t make ends meet on Social Security alone.  She tried working temporary, unfulfilling jobs, and then decided to improve her skills through a program managed by Chattanooga Goodwill Industries.

The Senior Community Service Employment Program is a federally funded, community service and work-based job training program for low-income, unemployed seniors. Kimberly Crider, director of the local SCSEP Program at Chattanooga Goodwill Industries, works with seniors like Ms. Holden to make sure they get access to job training opportunities that will eventually lead to permanent employment.

“Everything was going well for Patricia until the pandemic,” said Ms. Crider.  “She did well with digital skills training and was thriving in her administrative assistant trainee position. When she was unable to continue in that role due to preexisting medical conditions that put her at risk, we were determined to find a job training assignment that would allow her to continue to build her skills.”

A partnership with the Juanita C. Grant Foundation and its newly launched Village Connector Experience provided just the right opportunity for Ms. Holden and two others in SCSEP.  The Village Connector Experience is designed to mitigate the loneliness and isolation generally experienced by older Americans and now worsened by the COVID -19 pandemic.

“I honestly don’t know what I would have done financially if SCSEP weren’t here when COVID hit,” said Ms. Holden.  “Besides helping me make ends meet, it’s inspiring to connect with other seniors and hear how they’re coping with the isolation.”

Ms. Holden completed 16-hours of training in motivation intervention and customer service and is now certified as a Village Connector Experience Ambassador, reaching out to others from her home office in Cleveland.  SCSEP staff at Chattanooga Goodwill Industries provided Zoom technology operation support, and now Ms. Holden is an IT mentor to other trainees.

Hundreds of miles away in Grand Junction, Co. 71 year-old Terry Baxter was paired with Holden to receive a “sunshine call” three times per week.  “It is so nice to receive encouraging words,” said Mr. Baxter. “This has been very helpful with the loneliness I felt.”

Ms. Crider praises Ms. Holden, saying she has done such a great job, the Foundation is looking to expand her duties as it looks to expand the number of people in the Chattanooga area who are enrolled in the free program.  “Holden’s experience is a great example of the power of Goodwill,” said Ms. Crider. 

Chattanooga Goodwill Industries was established 97 years ago by Miriam Brock, wife of the founder of Brock Candy Company.  The organization’s focus has been on helping people, regardless of ability, situation or background, to find meaningful work opportunities so that they can achieve their full potential and participate in all aspects of a productive life.

The Juanita C. Grant Foundation provides education and training, advocacy and research to address economic insecurity, workforce development and quality of life challenges for the 50 plus community.


AIM Center, Inc. Celebrates 2020 Thanksgiving With A Week Of Giving Thanks

Erlanger East Announces Addition To Surgery Program

Hamilton County Coalition Using Tennessee Community CARES Grant To Offer Free Overdose Prevention, COVID-19 Resources To The Public


Beginning today, the AIM Center will have special programming and events for their clubhouse members to celebrate Thanksgiving. Events are as follows: Tuesday • Moccasin Bend employees ... (click for more)

Erlanger East Hospital surgical services announced an addition – the da Vinci Xi Surgical System. "With such technologies, Erlanger is positioned to offer patients additional advanced surgery ... (click for more)

The Hamilton County Coalition was recently awarded the Tennessee Community CARES grant to offer free overdose prevention, and COVID-19 resources to the public. These resources include virtual ... (click for more)



Living Well

AIM Center, Inc. Celebrates 2020 Thanksgiving With A Week Of Giving Thanks

Beginning today, the AIM Center will have special programming and events for their clubhouse members to celebrate Thanksgiving. Events are as follows: Tuesday • Moccasin Bend employees will be visited and gifted framed art pieces by AIM Center members showing them appreciation of their care and hard work. • 2:30 p.m. - Motivational speaker and entrepreneur Paul Cummings ... (click for more)

Erlanger East Announces Addition To Surgery Program

Erlanger East Hospital surgical services announced an addition – the da Vinci Xi Surgical System. "With such technologies, Erlanger is positioned to offer patients additional advanced surgery access points," officials said. "Erlanger Surgical Services at East expands robotic capabilities for minimally-invasive urologic, gynecologic, colorectal and general surgery in the East ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Tennessee Has 4,404 New COVID Cases, 53 More Deaths

The number of coronavirus cases in Tennessee is 352,376 on Thursday with 4,404 new cases. There have been 53 more deaths from the virus, for a total of 4,519, said state Health Department officials. The state currently has 2,178 people hospitalized from the virus, 5 less than on Wednesday. There have been 312,885 people who have recovered from the virus in Tennessee (89 ... (click for more)

Georgia Has 26 New Coronavirus Deaths, 2,946 New Cases

Georgia state health officials reported on Thursday there have been 26 additional deaths due to the coronavirus. The current total is 8,716. There were 2,946 new cases as that total reached 413,909 confirmed cases of coronavirus. Hospitalizations are at 34,587, up 174 from Wednesday. Here are the numbers by county: Catoosa County: 1,997 cases, up 25; 29 deaths; ... (click for more)

Opinion

County Employees Need A Bonus Too

A few weeks ago we learned that Sheriff Jim Hammond was asking for a second raise. Earlier this year Hamilton County employees were notified that "due to COVID-19" there would be no raises for employees of any kind this year. I guess Mr. Hammond didnt get that memo about no raises. Why is it that some employees will be getting a raise and others are not? That doesn't really ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Why I Am Thankful

For the life of me, I can’t remember when it started but back in the ‘70s, I began devoting my sports column on Thanksgiving Day to off-the-wall stuff of which I was truly and genuinely thankful. Back then I would go to from “76 reasons”, then “77 Reasons”, and then “78 reasons” with every new year. We climbed through 80’s, and the 90’s and it became a tradition. By then it had ... (click for more)