|Armonk SeniorNet Learning Center Fact Sheet|
Page 1 of 21. Armonk SeniorNet is sponsored by the Town of North Castle, a Town of approximately 12,000 inhabitants in Westchester County, NY approximately 35 miles north of New York City. Armonk is one of three Hamlets in the Town, and the seat of Town government. Armonk is within the commuting belt of New York City, and is the home of several large corporations, including IBM Corporate HQ.
2. We “went live” October, 2001
3. This start of operations was proceeded by initial funding and equipment from SeniorNet HQ and initial training of volunteers by John Bonilla (Sandy Krasner’s predecessor)
4. At 12/31/01 we were 17 trained volunteers, we had given 12 courses (Computer Fundamentals, Introduction to Computers, and Windows 98) to a total of 50 students
5. Seven courses were scheduled for January – February, 2002, including the introduction of an Advanced Word course, with Quicken and TurboTax courses contemplated as well
6. Our student enrollment was growing via favorable word-of-mouth
7. Our Learning Center is prominently featured on the Town web site, and we were undertaking a wide-ranging newspaper publicity campaign
8. November 15, 2002 I hosted what would be our first annual Volunteer Recognition Luncheon and All-Hands Meeting
9. As I reported immediately afterward to our Town Supervisor in our annual “Progress Report” –
a. 170 individual seniors have taken courses with us in our first year of operations.
b. Since we have many students take more than one course with us, we have had 240 students in courses.
c. We are currently teaching 5 courses; Computer Fundamentals, Introduction to Computers, Exploring Windows, Advanced Word, and Quicken.
d. All this takes place in our nicely fitted-out SeniorNet Learning Center in Town Hall Annex which is equipped with 8 new IBM computers, color printers, and the latest software which was provided through SeniorNet by our sponsors, IBM, Verizon, and the Benedict Foundation.
e. The Town provides the room, prepared and painted it and provided attractive carpeting and tables as well as upgraded electrical service, an air conditioner, etc. (We funded this with internally generated funds from student fees)
f. At our startup one year ago, SeniorNet also provided initial startup funding, volunteer training, and provides us via their web site master copies of excellent course manuals which we copy without charge and distribute to students as part of their course fee.
g. We are currently 21 volunteers.
h. Most of our volunteers act as instructors and/or coaches in our classes.
i. Others keep our computers and software up and running despite hard use by students, schedule classes, students, instructors and coaches for those classes, arrange publicity, etc.
j. Many volunteers handle more than one activity.
k. Our publicity has included coverage in newspapers, magazines, and a brochure we developed and distribute and periodic mailings, etc. We are on the Town of North Castle web site, and articles on us have appeared twice in the Town magazine and we are also in the North Castle Recreation and Parks Department 2002/3 Guide.
l. Many of us attended the May 24 SeniorNet Annual Conference held at Verizon HQ in Valhalla. It was a very interesting and useful day. Topics covered included information on courses, techniques, technical aspects, as well as a very useful opportunity to meet volunteers from other Centers and exchange helpful information. We plan on attending again.
m. We have accomplished all this and provided this valuable service to the community at unbeatably low cost to students while still showing a positive net cash flow to the Town, necessary to cover our low operating costs (thanks to an all volunteer staff) and provide for future equipment replacement.
n. Looking to the year ahead, our plans include the following -
o. Our high-speed cable modem service was installed November 15, and SeniorNet has provided us with a new cable Router. Our Lab Team will shortly get this all hooked up to permit all 8 computers to access high speed internet and e-mail.
p. This will enable us to roll-out an Internet and E-mail course that is the one most-requested course by seniors. We anticipate this will materially increase our student days beyond the excellent record of last year.
q. While maintaining our current course offerings, we will be also be adding a TurboTax course shortly, and our Curriculum Committee will be exploring adding a PhotoShop Elements course. Other courses will be added over time.
10. Following our 2nd Annual Volunteer Recognition Luncheon in November, 2003 I reported the following to our Town Supervisor –
a. 185 individual seniors have taken courses with us in our second year of operation, an increase from the 170 last year.
b. Since we have many students take more than one course with us, we have had over 230 students in courses this year.
c. We are currently teaching 8 courses, up from 5 last year; Computer Fundamentals, Introduction to Computers, Exploring Windows, Advanced Word, Internet/E-mail, PhotoShop, TurboTax and Quicken. Installation of our high-speed cable modem service last November and SeniorNet providing us with a new cable Router enabled us to introduce our Internet/E-mail course at that time.
d. All this takes place in our nicely fitted-out SeniorNet Learning Center in Town Hall Annex which is equipped with 8 IBM computers, color printers, and the latest software which was provided through SeniorNet by our sponsors, IBM, Verizon, and the Benedict Foundation.
e. This year we have started to see some of our IBM-donated machines now two years old experience hard drive crashes, and we have learned that IBM donated non-standard machines for which we cannot seem to get warranty service and so we have replaced the hard drives on three of the machines and we are in the process of replacing the hard drives of the remaining machines.
f. We also obtained from SeniorNet an additional better IBM machine that we are using solely for administrative purposes, and purchased some Norton diagnostic software we use in effecting these computer repairs.
g. We also added additional RAM (Random Access Memory) to bring all the machines up to a higher standard, so that we now have some very capable machines.
h. I also obtained $300 additional cash support from SeniorNet HQ to help cover the costs of this additional RAM, and Armonk Lions has expressed interest in helping support our good works, and recently presented us with a $100 check, which we hope will be just the first such partnering.
i. Likely in 2005 we should replace our machines, probably with Dell machines. While this will give us better hardware, they will come with Microsoft XP instead of the ME operating system we have been using, which will cause us to redo some of our courses and manuals and other work.
j. We plan to increase our course fee to $45 from the current $40 for courses beginning January 1, 2004 to help provide the funding for these replacement machines.
k. We are currently 25 volunteers.