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Town Of Brookline Shares Success Of Tech Buddies Program

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Emergency Management Director Fire Chief John Sullivan is pleased to share the success of Brookline’s Tech Buddies program.

The program provides a free tablet and/or Internet service, along with technical support, to low-income seniors and adults with disabilities living in Brookline to provide a connection to the Internet during the CoViD-19 pandemic and beyond.

Tech Buddies launched in May 2021, after the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) awarded the town grant funding through its Accelerating Climate Resiliency (ACR) program.

The Town then created a Tech Buddies Team, comprised of representatives from the Brookline Office of Emergency Management, which manages and coordinates the program, as well as the Brookline Senior Center / Council on Aging, Brookline Housing Authority, Brookline Public Library, Brookline Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Relations and the Brookline Community Mental Health Center.

Tech Buddies has supported 93 active participants so far, seven shy of the program’s original goal.

One senior participant shared how the Tech Buddies program has impacted their life.

“Now I can listen to music throughout my apartment, I can take free online classes, and I can communicate with friends and family. The tablet is a game changer and a gift that keeps on giving in so many ways,” one participant said. “I believe this program not only has enriched lives but has saved many lives both emotionally and physically.”

The Brookline Housing Authority’s senior buildings and the Brookline Senior Center are hosting in-person tech support for Brookline residents. The Brookline Senior Center is open for tech support to all seniors on Mondays and Fridays from 11:00 a.m. to 01:00 p.m. New participants who qualify can be signed-up for the Tech Buddies program on-site.

Alex Krieger has been able to assist over 200 residents through this initiative. He can provide one-on-one basic education on how to use a computer/tablet, email and Zoom, as well as help navigate enrollment to the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and applying the credit to an internet account.

Group classes are being developed and are designed to bring seniors together for collaborative learning that will empower them to become more comfortable with technology. For class details and sign-ups, contact Alex Krieger at 617-383-7525 or akrieger@brooklinema.gov.

The Tech Buddies program still has a limited number of tablets to be distributed to qualifying participants on a first come first serve basis until supplies last. For information on how to qualify for the Tech Buddies program, contact Sarah Kaplan at 617-730-2329 or skaplan@brooklinema.gov.