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City Honored for Technology Assistance to Seniors

Oct 11, 2016 10:39AM ● By Jeanne Fratello
The League of California Cities has awarded Manhattan Beach with the 2016 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence in recognition of its multi-generational and collaborative initiative called Connected!.

The award celebrates innovation in city governments and outstanding delivery of public services. A total of 12 cities were honored with the award at the League's annual meeting last week. Manhattan Beach was the award-winner in the Community Services and Economic Development category, .

The Connected! program was developed in response to a need by older adults in Manhattan Beach for assistance in understanding, navigating, and effectively using technological devices such as smart phones, tablets and laptops.

The Manhattan Beach City Senior Advisory Committee, a group of volunteers from the City’s Older Adult Program, and students from Mira Costa High School joined together to create an inventive way to tackle the growing challenge.  

The program created opportunities for local students to share their technology know-how with seniors in an informal, one-on-one setting; offered classes for seniors taught by older adult volunteers; and formed a volunteer base with a technology background as a resource for older adults.

The goal of the program, according to Older Adults Program Supervisor Jan Buike, is “to ensure that our older adult community is as informed and connected as possible, whether it be to their community, necessary services, friends or family.”

The program gives participants a chance to learn how to use new digital tools as well as an opportunity to connect with other members of their community. A number of positive, inter-generational relationships have been built through the student programs in particular, which offer all participants the chance to exchange wisdom and experiences.

"It was a great honor to accept this award on behalf of the City of Manhattan Beach and my colleagues on City Council,” said Mayor Tony D’Errico, "Thank you to the volunteers, our community seniors, high school seniors, and everyone who helped bring these programs to life. You are the true recipients of this award and the heart of our community."

A video about the award winners made by the League of California Cities is available here.

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