Monday, March 2, 2009

The Front Porch Reaches Out

Radio plays

Mental aerobics

Computer stress relief

Movie trivia discussions...

What do they all have in common? They are a samplying of what's being planned for a new program that we're calling: Beyond The Front Porch . There was a time when one had to speak with an operator in order to make a call and rumor has it that in small towns that operator knew more than anyone else about what was going on in the neighborhood. Phone technology has come a long way since then!

Imagine being able to attend workshops and participate in group programs without having to leave your home...Many of us have become accustomed to webinars or long distance conference calls that are often now taking the place of in-person meetings. But recreational and educational options may be limited if a person doesn't have a computer or doesn't have a computer with a webcam.

Many people aren't able to get to our programs either because of transportation difficulties, health issues and/or because they are caring for someone who they don't want to leave. This month we will start offering some programs over the phone using a conference calling service so that more people can get involved even if they can't leave their homes to join us in person.

We've been inspired to start this program after learning about several successful programs located in other parts of the country such as Senior Center Without Walls which is located in California and DOROT's University Without Walls, located in New York. Both programs offer a varied and broad selection of interesting classes and activities--all by phone. Not only are people learning new things and having a good time, but friendships have developed among participants that sometimes extend to outside of the program. My thanks go out to Terry Englehart, Director of Senior Center Without Walls, who has so generously shared her experience and program materials as we begin this new endeavor.

We will begin piloting the program later on in March with two sessions of Mental Aerobics and will be offering a broader array of sessions in April. While initially sessions will be open to Front Porch participants, we will be opening the program quickly to other North Shore seniors who have difficulty getting out.

In the meantime, we are seeking proposals from individuals willing to volunteer to facilitate a single or multiple session class or activity. Share your talents with others without leaving your own home! Please contact Susan for more information.