Breezeline Launches Community Impact Program Promoting Digital Literacy and Responsible Use of Technology

Program also supports online safety and STEM initiatives for young women

June 15, 2022 09:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

QUINCY, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Breezeline, the nation’s eighth-largest cable operator, is pleased to announce a series of online community education initiatives designed to foster digital literacy and equity while supporting online safety, a healthy tech-life balance, as well as promoting technology careers for young people.

Recognizing the great benefits that internet connectivity provides, but also mindful that not all members of the community currently share in its benefits equally, and seeking to foster the responsible use of technology, Breezeline is supporting more than a half-dozen non-profit organizations to promote these objectives in its communities. These include:

  • Digital Literacy for Seniors: Breezeline has partnered with Cyber-Seniors to create free, educational webinars teaching digital literacy basics for senior citizens. Cyber Seniors also provides free, live, one-on-one sessions to help device users become more tech savvy.
  • Tech Life Balance: Breezeline has partnered with The Digital Wellness Lab (DWL), which is composed of medical doctors, psychiatrists, clinical social workers, and research scientists at Boston Children’s Hospital who are working to understand and promote wellness in the digital age. With DWL, Breezeline will present short videos, webinars, and social media content to help parents understand the impact of media on their children and the practical steps they can take to mitigate its effects.
  • Cyber-Bullying Prevention: Breezeline has partnered with Pacer Center’s National Bullying Prevention Center to create cyberbullying prevention resources to distribute to schools and families during National Bullying Prevention Month in October and throughout the year.
  • Online Safety: Breezeline has partnered with CyberSecurity Non-Profit (CSNP) to create short videos, blogs, and social posts to inform and educate the public on ways to protect against cybercrime and to promote online safety.
  • STEM for Girls: Breezeline is supporting Code/Art’s annual coding festival and national coding competition, as well as regional coding clubs across the U.S. Code/Art is focused on closing the gender gap in technology by creating coding programs for girls in grades 3-12, inspiring girls to pursue computer science, and helping to change society’s view of what a coder looks like.
  • Promoting Tech Careers: The Interactive Case Competition challenges teams of graduate business students to solve real-life case studies pertaining to the cable industry. As the lead sponsor in the spring fall competitions, Breezeline senior leaders serve as judges and mentors, while sponsorship dollars go to the winning student teams as prize money to support their education. More than 40 percent of students go on to pursue tech careers.

“Breezeline is committed to using advanced technology to connect homes, education, health care, businesses and communities to everything that is important to them,” said Frank van der Post, President of Breezeline. “We know the tremendous benefits of online connectivity, but with this comes the responsibility to promote its right and safe use, while ensuring that all segments of our communities have access to connectivity in this digital age.”

Breezeline is committed each year to donating at least 1 percent of its pre-tax profits to community-based support. In its last fiscal year, Breezeline contributed more than $5 million in its support of community initiatives.

ABOUT BREEZELINE

Cogeco US, operating as Breezeline, a subsidiary of Cogeco Communications Inc. (TSX: CCA), is the eighth-largest cable operator in the United States. The company provides its residential and business customers with Internet, TV and Voice services in 12 states: Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. Cogeco Communications Inc. also operates in Québec and Ontario, in Canada, under the Cogeco Connexion name. Cogeco Inc.’s subsidiary, Cogeco Media, owns and operates 21 radio stations as well as a news agency serving audiences primarily in the province of Québec.

Contacts

Katherine McCoid 
Breezeline 
kmccoid@breezeline.com 
breezeline@kwtglobal.com

Cyber-Seniors keeps Niagara seniors connected

Intergenerational volunteer-based organization offers seniors toll free number for technology training and support

By Victoria Nicolaou staff reporter Fri., Jan. 28, 2022

Koby Vanyo first heard about Cyber Seniors at a conference she attended a few years ago.

Founded in 2015, the non-profit organization sounded interesting and beneficial, but St. Catharines didn’t have the finances available to fund a program dedicated to providing free technology support and training for senior citizens.

And more than that, Vanyo said there wasn’t the need.

Fast-forward a handful of years, add in a worldwide pandemic, and the demand for the program has drastically changed.

Last fall, Vanyo, programs supervisor for St. Catharines, said the city received a grant which enabled them to connect with Cyber-Seniors. In addition to the technology support the program provides, the funding allowed for the development of Niagara-focused virtual programming.

The organization offers technology training using a volunteer-based model, with young people offering lessons and learning activities to keep seniors socially connected and engaged.

Anyone experiencing technology troubles or requiring assistance can call Cyber Seniors toll free number and be connected with the necessary help.

“They have trained volunteers on the other end of the line who can walk you through setting up (a new cell phone) and getting connected to the internet and pointing you in the right direction,” said Vanyo.

Even those who are relatively well-versed in technology have found it beneficial. Vanyo said she has guided her 74-year-old mother – who can “do most things” when it comes to technology – to the toll free line and the service has been “a lifesaver.” “She loves talking to them and they walk her through her problems and fix it every time,” she said.

Cyber-Seniors takes care of all of the vetting and the training of all volunteers, including using students from Niagara College and Brock University to help locally.

With the grant, Vanyo said the Niagara program – called Cyber-Seniors: Connecting Generations – has created localized content, in addition to the virtual programming already offered, and helped to build local connection.

Anny Salcedo, training supervisor for the Niagara program, said local webinars have included presentations on how to use the Niagara Region Waste and NRT OnDemand apps, and COVID-19 related presentations to help find booster shot locations for seniors and offered assistance with printing or downloading enhanced vaccine receipt.

It also has a partnership with Niagara Folks Arts Centre, and hosts seminars on topics to help create awareness, such mental health and homelessness.

In the coming weeks, Salcedo said they have events focused on the history of Niagara and Pickleball.

“With the restrictions of COVID, it has been very challenging for the seniors to actually stay connected or active even, so this kind of give an opportunity for them to socialize with other people across their region,” she said.

The average attendance is anywhere from 10 to 20 people, depending on the webinar itself. Salcedo said it can be tough and “complicated sometimes” for seniors to get accustomed to going virtual.

“We try to encourage them, remind them that they are not alone, that they can count on us,” she said.

Senior centres in St. Catharines were limited in what it could offer membership when the pandemic first took hold, and Vanyo said outside a monthly newsletter and a bi-monthly phone call, they didn’t have any virtual programming available.

So now, with Cyber-Seniors as well as Senior Centre Without Walls – telephone-based program for seniors – “we can reach a wider audience” said Vanyo.

The program is just in its infancy stages in Niagara but they’ve had “some good uptake” so far and are looking to spread the word and grow.

“More and more people are learning about it, more and more people are giving it a try,” she said, especially as the country continues to deal with the ongoing pandemic.

“It’s been a very interesting offering that we can give to people and it’s been successful.”

The Cyber-Seniors toll free number, 1-844-217-3057, is free to the public. More information on the Connecting Generations can be found on its website: https://cyberseniors.org/niagara/

To join Seniors Without Walls participants can call 905 688 5600 ext.1554.

Cyber-Seniors Launches New Spanish Tech Sessions

Thanks to generous support from the Consumer Technology Association Foundation, Cyber-Seniors is now proud to be able to offer weekly tech sessions and one-on-one help in Spanish! Visit our website to sign up, or sign up for the Spanish-speaking senior in your life!

Cyber-Seniors is Participating in the Consumer Electronics Show

Cyber-Seniors is excited to be participating in the 2021 All-Virtual Consumer Electronics Show! Ahead of the conference, Cyber-Seniors Managing Director Brenda Rusnak gave this interview with CTA Foundation CEO Steve Ewell, on the importance of intergenerational technology programming and how Cyber-Seniors is making a difference during these difficult times.

Cyber-Seniors | HundrED Spotlight 2019

Cyber-Seniors trains students to become technology mentors for older adults and allows them to receive practical experience while earning service hours. Upon completion, students are awarded a completion certificate and become eligible for awards and prizes. Through this experience, students develop important job skills that enhance opportunities for future employment.

HundrED seeks and shares inspiring innovations in K12 education. The world is changing fast, and schools need to change as well. Impactful, scalable innovations are a way to make that change happen.

Cyber-Seniors: Making Miraculous Things Happen | GreatCall

Watch how older adults connect with teens at the Boys & Girls Club of San Marcos to explore technology together and share their experiences. In association with GreatCall, the Cyber-Seniors program, held at the Best Buy Teen Tech Center, combines the wisdom of age with the energy of youth to make miraculous things happen.

Cyber-Seniors & Sienna Senior Living

Be inspired by the unforgettable journey of a group of seniors and high school students. What they’ve learned and experienced, changed their lives forever. Cyber-Seniors is a community partnership program, where students from the local area help Sienna Senior Living residents learn how to use new technology.

Best Part and Fujitsu Preserving Memories Project

Fujitsu and Cyber-Seniors teamed up for a unique Preserving Memories project. Teen volunteers from the Breesee Youth Center worked together with adults at St. Barnabas Senior Center in Los Angeles, CA, to teach technology skills. They used ScanSnap scanners to digitize important items and share them with family and friends.

Cyber-Seniors & Best Buy Bring Tech Training to the Kiwanis Care Centre

Cyber-Seniors teamed up with Best Buy to bring technology to residents at the Kiwanis Care Centre in Canada’s British Columbia. Thanks to the generous tech donations from Best Buy and teaching resources found on the Cyber-Seniors website, the students from Windsor Secondary are helping the residents at the Kiwanis Care Centre learn to use technology.

The seniors are now using tablets to search the Internet and play games, using Skype to connect with family and friends, and they’re even incorporating games on the Wii U into their daily physical activities.