Emily Jones Joanisse
Co-Founder & CEO, Connected Canadians
Co-Founder & CIO, Connected Canadians
Connected Canadians is a federally incorporated non-profit organization established to help connect older adults with free technology training and support. Many Connected Canadians volunteers are new Canadians who are highly skilled technology workers, collectively they speak 12 languages. Volunteers benefit from the cultural awareness and conversational practice opportunities that come from their interaction with clients, and clients feel a sense of pride and connection in helping to welcome newcomers into the community.
In addition to their regular free technical support offerings, Connected Canadians has established several programs in response to COVID-19. Senior isolation is an ever-present issue that needs an equally sustained response. Here are some of the ways that Connected Canadians is addressing this need.
Intergenerational social gaming
Connected Canadians technology mentors have been facilitating social gaming circles to allow physically isolated seniors to interact with others via video and audio while playing a language-based game. As many of Connected Canadians volunteers are experienced software developers, graphic designers, and useability experts, the shortcomings of the existing tools quickly became apparent, and as such the Connected Canadians team has been developing their own online game. This game is due to be launched in early July. Connected Canadians is looking for sponsoring partners to support the costs of the infrastructure, to help ensure the game can be used free of charge by all who wish on an ongoing basis.
Support for families of Hospital patients and volunteers
Due to quarantining procedures in health care institutions, elderly patients, and the senior volunteers who used to help them, are now more physically isolated than ever before. To ensure that those with family or friends in hospital have the skills they need to connect with their loved ones, Connected Canadians has created a program to help families of patients get connected. Connected Canadians is looking for engaged sponsoring partners to help cover the costs of associated equipment and infrastructure.
Train the trainer
Many organizations serve seniors who need support in becoming more digitally literate so that they can better access core programming. Connected Canadians can create customized remote training programs to meet the specific needs of each organization. Contact Connected Canadians to learn how your team can become Connected Canadians certified technology mentors.
Seniors Can Connect! program
Seniors Can Connect! is a collaboration between HelpAge Canada and Connected Canadians. The aim is to provide access and support to technology for seniors across Canada through two integrated programs: a toll-free tech support hotline (training and support for seniors with their own devices), and tablet computer lending services for seniors who lack devices to communicate online. This program is launching locally in the Ottawa area this month, with plans to roll out nationally shortly after. Learn more about the program on the Seniors Can Connect! page.
HelpAge Canada is Canada’s only national and international charitable organization exclusively working for older persons, since 1975, and a founding member of HelpAge International operating in 85 countries.