WORTHINGTON – A grant of $ 142,218 for the Center for Active Living will go towards kayaks, bikes and an assortment of tech, as well as education, health promotion and more.
“It will be a great year,” said Jill Cuperus, director of CAL. “We’re going to be doing a lot of fun things. “
Cuperus applied for a grant from the Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging in September and made some revisions in October. As a Title III-B grant, it focuses on education and training for new skills, so part will cover instructors ‘salaries and part of Cuperus’ salary, she said.
Some will also be used for health promotion and equipment for outdoor activities. Kayaks will be purchased for people to use by the lake and bikes for people to use in town. A raised garden bed will allow the green thumb to practice their skills in the center without having to worry about kneeling or standing up.
“I’ve only been here 6 months and I think it’s the biggest grant CAL has received,” Cuperus said.
The tech component of the grant includes laptops, iPads, software, virus protection, a new projector, a smart board, webcams, and even a cutting machine.
CAL is also partnering with the Minnesota West Community and Technical College for technology training, and will be offering an Introductory Gmail and Google Suite course of 4-6 weeks. The course will start with the basics, but should help participants become familiar with Google Drive, Photo, and Meet utilities.
The class will meet at 10 a.m. Wednesday starting January 19, and due to the grant, anyone aged 60 and over can participate for free. This includes people who are not members of CAL.
“We just want to build people’s confidence so that they are able to do things,” Cuperus said. “… we want to make a big effort to make people feel comfortable and familiar with using laptops, Google, and iPads.” “
CAL is more of an adult community center than what most people think of as a senior center, and the members are generally dynamic, very active and busy, said Cuperus. Since many of them didn’t grow up with technology, they may worry about breaking things or just aren’t as confident with technology as the younger generations.
“We just want to eliminate this fear of not knowing,” Cuperus explained.
The grant also includes funding for translation, advertising, postage and wifi.
While all grant-funded programs are free to anyone aged 60 and over, membership in the Center for Active Living is open to anyone aged 50 and over for $ 35 per year. For more information, visit the CAL at 211 11th St. or call (507) 376-6457.