Microsoft awards $25,000 to senior program |

Microsoft awards $25,000 to senior program

RHONDA COSTA-LANDERS Appeal Features Writer

Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday awarded the Nevada Elders on the Net program nearly $25,000 in software in an effort to increase computer literacy among senior citizens.

In addition, Agelight Institute is donating $5,000.

The money and software will be used at all 24 NEON stations throughout Nevada, including Carson City.

The donation is a result of a long-term project led by Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., to ensure senior citizens are not left behind in the digital and computer age.

The money will go toward providing computer workstations and Internet connections for the NEON program.

Reid held an interactive forum in Las Vegas on Tuesday to show older Nevadans how to use and benefit from the Internet and the online resources it provides. Reid told the participants that technology is allowing seniors to retain their independence because they can manage so many of their daily activities and needs online.

“For seniors who have difficulty traveling or leaving home, the Internet is a fantastic tool,” said Reid.

“They can learn new things, shop for products and communicate with thousands of people interested in the same things as they are, but only if they have a computer to use. This funding will help Nevada increase online access for seniors and that is a very important goal.”

NEON is a program designed to teach seniors how to use the Internet to get information. It was developed for seniors who already know their way around a computer – ones that know how to use the keyboard, the basic function of the computer, and what a mouse is.

Administrative assistant at the Carson City Senior Citizens Center, Caroline Johnson, attended training for the NEON program in Reno several months ago. She helped implement the program at the center.

“The Division of Aging Services provides one computer, printer and a work station,” said Johnson. “We’re still waiting on the station. All of the computers used in the NEON program – there are 20 within the state – are Gateways.”