It's always heartening to receive thanks from organizations that receive AARP Foundation grants. What's equally heartening – and much less likely — is to hear from one of the people whom the grant will ultimately help. In the District of Columbia, Byte Back, which offers computer training to low-income older people, was awarded a $160,000 Recession Recovery grant that will allow them to help an additional 1,000 people.
When the news got out, Byte Back client Mary Chang, who signed herself "a grateful senior citizen," sent an email congratulating the organization on winning the grant. Here are some excerpts:
"I am very proud to be a part of Byte Back. It feels like I am part of a large family with a networking system that is very beneficial to myself and others by helping with skills we need in order to obtain gainful employment. I know that I am not being cast aside as someone no longer useful to society. Due to ... Byte Back, my life has changed a lot in a very positive way. I am so much more confident with my refreshed/added computer skills...
"I recently lost my mother. Needless to say it was the most devastating experience of my life. I was however, able to get online and make the necessary searches for funeral homes and access offices that would be helpful to my family. My mother passed suddenly and without insurance. Had I not gained the knowledge required to make fast and efficient searches...the process would have taken longer and certainly would have added more frustration that I didn't need. Please keep up the good work by helping seniors.
"Byte Back has made a positive difference in the lives of many people that I have come in contact with, and many that I don't know. Not many organizations realize that senior citizens are the backbone of their communities, had it not been for the seniors of each generation, there would be no youth who will one day become seniors. Byte Back fortunately for many of us is not one of the organizations that closed their doors, eyes and ears to us. My Sincere Thanks."
Stories like Ms. Chang’s drive our work at AARP Foundation. Our Recession Recovery and Hunger Innovation grants now support 20 local nonprofits in 18 states and the District of Columbia, helping them carry out innovative and scalable programs that, while providing short-term relief, are also providing the means for long-term solutions.
Also of interest: The AARP Foundation grants program. »