Lighthouse Guild’s Innovative Tech Pals Program Receives $10,000 Grant

The grant supports intergenerational mentorships and continues an established partnership

NEW YORK – In recognition of World Sight Day, Lighthouse Guild has received a $10,000 grant from Iveric Bio, an Astellas Company, to support its innovative Tech Pals program.

This new program is an intergenerational technology training program where tech savvy young adults (aged 18-24) who are blind or visually impaired, serve as mentors to older adults (aged 55+) who are also visually impaired and want to become proficient in the use of their mobile phones and tablets. The mentors receive extensive training on techniques for teaching as well as on-going support through a collaboration with Cyber-Seniors, a non-profit organization based out of Canada that provides virtual intergenerational technology training to typically sighted seniors. 

Piloted with support from the Readers Digest Partners for Sight Foundation, this grant will help this new program to expand and improve.

“The Tech Pals program not only provides participants with skills and support, but also meaningful connections,” said Calvin W. Roberts, MD, President & CEO of Lighthouse Guild. “We thank Iveric Bio for their generous gift to support this new initiative, and we are pleased to partner with them in celebrating World Sight Day.”

Iveric Bio has previously supported Lighthouse Guild through employee volunteerism with clients focused on career and job skills as well as engaging in the GuildCare program.

City of Niagara Falls launches ‘Cyber Seniors’ technology training program

by Nick Redekop

October 10, 2023 

As the world enters the second generation of personal computing and internet-based technology, the need to help elderly citizens utilise these powerful tools is growing. That is why this fall, the Municipality of Niagara Falls will launch its inaugural technology training program for seniors. 

The class, which will be run in six-week intervals of two-hour sessions (one hour of instruction and one hour of discussion), is slated to take place at the MacBain Community Centre at 7150 Montrose Rd. 

DJ Brooks currently serves as Community Development Coordinator in the Recreation and Culture Department at the City of Niagara Falls. 

“We already do a lot of older adult programming through the City,” Brooks shared in a recent interview with The Niagara Independent. “And we have a digital media group (to help) with their technology needs,” he added. “The group is great but informal. We wanted to try and get a more structured opportunity together.” 

The program will be made possible by a variety of types of labour. “Cyber Seniors is our main contact,” Brooks said. “We also will have volunteers to help run the program, plus our Brock Recreation Intern, myself and the Manager of Older Adults and Aquatics Hanya Nagy.”

With original offerings that span the coming fall and winter, the City hopes that the training classes will become a permanent way to support the community. “We are committed to running the program through March 2024,” Brooks explained. “If we see active participation in the program, we would continue it indefinitely,” he furthered. “If the need is still there, we will absolutely continue to run it.” 

As internet, phone and messaging scams continue to target seniors, cyber-safety will be a key component of the program. “Cyber-safety is only one aspect of the program, but it is part of it,” Brooks said. “Each week will be a different topic – cyber-safety is one of those topics.” 

“We are using the Cyber Seniors expertise in program design and digital knowledge to help with lesson planning and then we, with our volunteers, will deliver the program to the community.” 

When asked what would make the program a resounding success, Brooks had some notable thoughts to share. “Anytime we can help people connect socially we find it a success,” he related. “One of our goals is to help older adults maintain health – physically, socially and mentally – and this program can help in some of these areas.”

“Many older adults in our community are intimidated by technology – we just want to help them ease that anxiety and be able to use the technology to better their lives.” 

The City is actively looking for Tech Mentors to help run Cyber Seniors classes. Those interested in learning more or applying can do so at the following links: Cyber Seniors and Application Form.

Niagara Falls offering new technology training program for older adults

Cyber Seniors is a six-week, hands-on program at MacBain Community Centre

By The Niagara Falls Review

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

The City of Niagara Falls, in collaboration with the provincial government, is offering a new technology training program targeted toward older adults.

Cyber Seniors is a six-week, hands-on program to be delivered at MacBain Community Centre this fall.

Classes will cover topics such as cyber safety, email tips, navigating smartphones and tablets, and a beginner’s guide to social media.

The City is looking for volunteer tech mentors to facilitate the classes, acting as a resource on all things technology for older adults.

The city encourages local youths to become a tech mentor as it will help to build their resumes or complete high school community service hours while honing leadership, communication, time management and decision-making skills.

Individuals interested in becoming mentors, or looking to enrol in classes, can visit

Testimonials – California Department of Aging (CDA)

Participants of the California Department of Aging’s iPad program tell us how happy they are with learning tech skills with Cyber-Seniors!

Meet 7 of Canada’s Brightest Change Makers

Across business, science and technology—they’re paving the way for a better future one great idea at a time.



It all started in 2009, when Kascha and Macaulee Cassaday had to do some volunteering to graduate high school. They, like all kids that age, just wanted to get their hours in, but when they noticed how much they used tech to stay close with their grandparents, a light bulb went on. The Toronto-based siblings realized that by teaching older generations how to use modern tech, they could bridge the digital divide between young and old. They started by touring local retirement communities to tutor seniors on how to use popular apps like Skype and Facebook. Their experience was captured in the critically acclaimed 2014 documentary Cyber-Seniors (directed by their sister, Saffron Cassaday). Fourteen years later, they’ve built a non-profit with reach across North America and a mission to create digital equality and connect generations through technology. “During the pandemic, we all learned how social isolation can negatively impact us, and older adults are at a higher risk of social isolation as they age,” says Kascha. “Our organization is powered by youth volunteers who are in high school or university. All the older adults we work with are lifelong learners who are dedicated to keeping their minds sharp. As much as they are learning from us, they are giving back by guiding us to be better teachers and leaders.” If you’ve ever needed a reminder to call your grandparents, this is it.

Grant to help ‘bridge digital divide’ through technology help for Greenfield seniors


Staff Writer

GREENFIELD — Thanks to a $99,773 grant, area seniors will gain increased access to technology and the resources to learn how to use it.

The award, which comes from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs, will benefit the Council on Aging’s Tech Savvy Seniors project. Thanks to the grant, the Council on Aging will be able to purchase 50 iPad tablets that include keyboard and trackpad attachments. Some iPads will remain at the Greenfield Senior Center for seniors to engage with during their visit at no expense.

“Tech Savvy Seniors is a longtime goal coming to fruition,” said Council on Aging Director Hope Macary, noting that she’s thrilled to help “bridge the digital divide” by providing devices and ongoing educational support. “I’ve been keenly interested in technology since attending nursing school at [Greenfield Community College], where I gained tech skills and then served as a computer tutor as an adult learner.”

The Council on Aging will assign at least 40 of the purchased iPads for seniors to participate in educational outreach after they complete a digital equity intake form.

The free informational component is provided through GCC’s Cyber Seniors program, which has helped roughly 100 seniors via hands-on training since its debut in 2021. Associate Dean of Community Engagement Judy Raper will lead workshops for iPad recipients to learn how to use the device and protect their privacy/personal information. Seniors will be able to keep their new devices after the course.

“Over the past several years, I have become increasingly aware of the difference that digital literacy skills can make in the quality of life for older adults,” Raper said. “I am thrilled that we will be able to enhance our current offerings to increase support for this population around navigating technology. Part of the role of technology is developing the capacity to connect. For many older adults, this is essential to their well-being, and this grant will help us support them in developing the necessary skills to do so.”

A portion of the grant funding will allow GCC to subcontract a part-time cyber senior regional coordinator who will take inquiries from interested seniors, track appointments and session topics, host information sessions about the program and arrange the hiring of cyber senior mentors.

The mentors work with older adults one-on-one during in-person appointments to help them navigate technology. Sessions are held at GCC, the John Zon Community Center/Greenfield Senior Center and Franklin County’s YMCA.

“I want to expand the locations where people are getting one-on-one assistance, so we’ll be working with the YMCA, as well as the Senior Center, and we’ll be reaching out to some of the public housing units,” Raper added. “The idea is to help more older adults one-on-one with their devices.”

GCC will also be offering free computer classes for older adults on Fridays from noon to 2 p.m., beginning Sept. 8 and continuing through Sept. 29. People can register on the GCC website. There will be more workshops offered later this fall and in the spring.

Reporter Mary Byrne can be reached at or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne.

Breezeline Provides Digital Training to Empower Monongalia County Seniors

The U.S. internet provider partners with Cyber-Seniors for onsite technology training

August 09, 2023 10:06 ET| Source: Breezeline

Morgantown, W.Va., Aug. 09, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Breezeline, the nation’s eighth-largest cable operator, hosted a digital literacy seminar to empower older adults in West Virginia with the knowledge and skills to effectively navigate the digital world.

The digital literacy learning seminar was held August 8 at Senior Monongalians, a nonprofit senior center serving those aged 60+ in Monongalia County. Breezeline held the event in partnership with Cyber-Seniors, a nonprofit that provides tech-training and digital mentors to seniors. The interactive seminar covered topics such as internet basics, cybersecurity, telemedicine, and online banking.

“Knowing how to safely navigate the online world leads to more opportunities,” said Lisa Martin, executive director of Senior Monongalians, Inc. “The skills that Breezeline and Cyber Seniors teach will help older adults in Monongalia County stay connected to friends, family, and all the things they love.”

Pew study indicates that 75% of adults over the age of 65 regularly use the internet, and according to a study published by the National Institutes of Health, older adults who regularly use social technology are less likely to suffer from chronic illnesses and depressive symptoms, while also more likely to enjoy higher overall well-being, than those who do not.

“Cyber-Seniors is proud to partner with Breezeline to teach skills that keep older populations socially connected and engaged,” said Brenda Rusnak, co-founder and president of the nonprofit.

To further enhance the online experience, Breezeline also provided attendees with blue light glasses that prevent eye strain while looking at screens.

This event is one of several steps Breezeline is taking to foster digital literacy and the responsible use of technology in its communities. This summer, Breezeline will make a donation to Monongalia County schools every time a West Virginia Black Bear baseball player steals a base.

“We recognize the great importance of expanding connectivity and are pleased to partner with Cyber-Seniors and Senior Monongolians to promote its right and safe use among older adults,” said Sean Brushett, Breezeline’s vice president of technical operations.

Breezeline Helps Customers Avoid Online Risks

Monday, June 26, 2023 11:06 AM | GlobeNewswire via QuoteMedia

Breezeline Helps Customers Avoid Online Risks

Through education and training, the service provider works to promote online safety and awareness

QUINCY, Mass., June 26, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Breezeline , the nation’s eighth-largest cable operator, is helping to raise awareness about internet safety and the ways customers can protect themselves when they are online.

Online threats are increasing and cybercriminals are constantly evolving the techniques they use to trick users. According to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency ( CISA ):

  • One in three homes with computers is infected with malware
  • 65% of users who went online last year received at least one online scam offer
  • 47% of adults have had their personal information exposed by cybercriminals
  • 31% of millennials have shared their passwords–more than any age group

Because older adults are often the target of cybercriminals, Breezeline has launched digital literacy training through its partnership with Cyber-Seniors to instruct these customers on internet basics and how to protect themselves online. Additionally, Breezeline has partnered with CyberSecurity NonProfit to create a series of blogs, videos and other content to inform the public on ways to protect against cybercrime and to promote online safety.

“Cybercriminals count on users to have their guards down, and many users are in a hurry and bypass controls that are there for a reason,” said Aaron Brace, vice president of engineering for Breezeline. “Making attackers’ lives harder makes our lives a little harder, but it’s worth the extra time and diligence.”

In addition to cyberbullying , younger online users are at risk through popular apps that collect data on their online habits. Furthermore, younger users may also inadvertently download malware or reveal their own personal information or that of their parents. They may also be tricked into sending images to a person posing as another, who then threatens to share the image publicly unless extortion money is paid.

Online users can take these basic steps to help combat cyber threats:

  • Exercise caution when surfing online or clicking on an email. Take the time to read carefully. Ask yourself whether you were expecting the email and why you need to provide the information requested. If the email contains an urgent appeal for your attention or contains spelling errors, this is likely a phishing attempt. Be careful using a public WiFi network because it may not be secure.
  • Use long, unique credentials for usernames and passwords. Use passphrases rather than passwords, vary them between sites, and change them often. Attackers can hack the database of one platform to obtain usernames and passwords so that they can try to access other sites frequented by the same user.
  • Use multi-factor authentication when possible because it requires more than one verification step.
  • Use encryption: Do not keep sensitive documents and data unsecured on computers. For example, if you keep a folder of your tax return on your computer, it should be zipped and encrypted. Lastly, ensure that you have antivirus software on your computer.
  • Do not share personal data on social media sites or other online forums. These can be mined by cyber criminals to gain access to other accounts.

Breezeline is also working to protect customers while they are online. While Breezeline does not filter customers’ online content, its security team is on the lookout for fraudulent websites and phishing emails designed to trick a recipient into providing personal data. To minimize these attacks, Breezeline uses inline scanning to warn email customers of potentially harmful email attachments.

The Breezeline “WiFi Your Way” service, meanwhile, has best-in-class security powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) with always-on digital and data security for every device on the home or business network. It filters out suspicious activity and even automatically quarantines devices that are behaving strangely. The system also includes built-in ad-blocking for overall smoother surfing.

Breezeline also uses multi-step verification to protect customer data by confirming that those who contact the company are, in fact, customers. Breezeline also complies with customer data protections under federal “Customer Proprietary Network Information” (CPNI) regulations.

One generation will help another close the remaining digital divide (Editorial)

Published: Apr 28, 2023

By The Republican Editorials

Even after a long state effort to bring high-speed internet to rural areas, access to this critical tool of modern life has remained out of reach for many.

Many who live in cities, as well as towns.

When people first heard the term “digital divide” in Massachusetts, it referred to people in small towns unable to sign up for internet access from cable companies. Private companies bypassed these prospective customers because of the high cost of reaching them.

Government stepped into the gap during the administration of Gov. Charlie Baker. After delays and false starts, the Legislature and governor eventually invested about $57 million to get high-speed service to 53 towns – in some cases through incentives paid to commercial companies, in others by grants to towns that wanted to build publicly owned networks. That job is nearly done.

That digital divide needed hardware. Utilities pounded 40,000 new poles into the ground. Crews laid 2,000 miles of fiber optic cable. In the end, 26,000 residences and businesses obtained long-denied internet access. Not having that access hurt. It hurt businesses, students and people in need of telehealth services. It depressed property values.

Today, the state, continuing a program shaped in the last months of the Baker administration, wants to close a different digital divide. This one needs soft skills and cash – and will get it, thanks to an infusion of federal money that dwarfs what was spent reaching people in rural areas.

This past week, economic development officials with the Healey administration came to Springfield to detail steps that will help people take advantage of resources available online, removing barriers to information and providing greater equity for all. We applaud this new chapter and encourage people to take advantage of new programs, training and, yes, devices and subsidies.

In Springfield, 54% of residents do not have a reliable internet connection, one study found.

That’s not just an inconvenience. “It is a civil right. It is a human right,” Frank Robinson, vice president for public health and community relations with Baystate Health Systems told a gathering at the Tech Foundry. Baystate will lead a program called Cyber Seniors, in which high school and college students coach senior citizens who haven’t the tech skills, or means, to get online.

As reporter Jim Kinney explained in a story this week, the state will pump $14 million into a variety of projects. The Digital Equity Partnerships Program will pull from a $50 million fund provided through federal pandemic relief.

In coming months, we will continue to highlight steps in this work. More than a dozen Springfield-area groups have lined up with Baystate to take part. They are doing important work.

Most people take for granted the ability to hop online and search. The new effort is needed and overdue.

Western Mass. group gets $5.1 million to address ‘digital divide’ in skills, devices and fiber coverage

Published: Apr 27, 2023

By Jim Kinney |

SPRINGFIELD – Starting next week, high school and college students will start helping senior citizens connect to the internet, taking advantage, perhaps for the first time, of the web’s wealth of life tools.

The step will start with four internet guides, but could expand to 60 as part of a broad state project to remove barriers to internet access.

“If we train 60 young people, we can reach 400 seniors,” said Frank Robinson, vice president of public health at Baystate Health. “This is an intergenerational exchange.”

Called Cyber Seniors, the pilot program begins May 6 at the Palmer Public Library. The training is one program of a new effort, led by Baystate Health Systems.

The Western Massachusetts Alliance for Digital Equity, as it is known, will receive $5.1 million from the state’s Digital Equity Partnerships Program. Elders will be able, once trained, to avail themselves telehealth, online benefit applications, email and other internet programs that most people consider indispensible.

On Thursday, Economic Development Secretary Yvonne Hao visited Springfield to announce $14 million in grants aimed to close the state’s digital divide. She spoke at the Tech Foundry job skills training program.

The term digital divide once referred only to the lack of high-speed internet service in rural areas. But it now covers any skills gap that keeps people from accessing the technology, or any device gap or lack of computers or computer access.

The Digital Equity Partnerships Program was launched in September 2022 with a $50 million fund to narrow the digital divide in the state. According to a news release, the program works with partners on six program areas to expand connectivity options.

The money comes from the state’s share of the federal American Rescue Plan Act, COVID recovery legislation of 2021.

“Broadband access is part of the puzzle. But only part of the puzzle. Having fiber on your street is just part of the battle,” said Michael Baldino, director and general counsel for the Massachusetts Broadband Institute.

The rest of that puzzle lies in missing skills and tech devices.

The state has made significant progress bringing broadband into underserved areas, Baldino said. Back in 2016 there were 44 towns – mostly in western and central Massachusetts — without access to high-speed internet. Now, projects are completed in 37 of the 44 and are underway in the remaining municipalities.

In Springfield, despite years of effort, 54% of the city’s residents are without reliable internet connection, said Roger W. Crandall, chairman, president and CEO of MassMutual and co-chair of the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership’s Innovation Committee.

Baystate Health is involved, Robinson said, because internet access is connected with a person’s health and well-being. No internet means no telemedicine, no online appointment scheduling and less access to education.

“It is a civil right,” Robinson said. “It is a human right.”

The projects fall into broad categories. Participating organizations will establish and administer projects in one or more of the following program areas:

  • Digital Literacy Initiative – $2,299,235 for digital literacy training programs.
  • Connectivity Initiative for Economic Hardship – $689,313 for broadband connectivity to vulnerable populations through the provision of Wi-Fi cellular hot spots.
  • Public Space Internet Modernization Initiative – $813,221 for improvements to inadequate broadband infrastructure and digital use in public spaces and increase daily use and services.
  • Outreach and Enrollment – $1,347,693 for breaking down barriers to broadband adoption. This includes increasing the number of western Massachusetts residents participating in the Digital Equity Partnership Initiative programs and the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program. This outreach will involve in-person workshops, call center phone banking, door-to-door outreach, online or printed communications and public service announcements.