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Becoming a Computer Wiz

Our entire society is moving away from paper and to the internet. Today you can do almost everything on line in the convenience of your own home. No more standing in long lines, no more having to battle traffic and no more driving around to find a parking space. For some of us, getting around in the community may be a challenge. Driving may no longer be an option and our current public transportation system doesn’t have sufficient routes to accommodate every area of our islands. So for these people, going online to pay bills saves time, money, and frustration.

Thankfully, now you can sit at your computer at home and take care of almost everything. In the Virgin Islands, you can bank, pay bills, shop, read the news, watch television, play games that can help exercise your brain, and much, much more – all from the comfort and convenience of your own home computer. You can even access AARP at for all kinds of informative articles, stories, savings and more.

For those seniors whose families live on the mainland or who are away in the military, computers can let you stay in touch in writing, by voice, or by video. E-mail, for instance, can let you communicate with loved ones as often as you desire. You can send messages, photos, and videos in real time. You can also hook up a camera to your computer and actually conduct a video telephone call so you can actually see the new grandbaby rather than just hear how beautiful he or she is.

If you don’t want to spend the money right now on a new computer, that’s not a problem. All Virgin Islands public libraries have computers that you can utilize for free. Unfortunately, they do not have personnel that will be able to remain with you and help you every step of the way, but if you have a basic knowledge of computers, you can keep in touch through the libraries. You can get that basic knowledge through the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) and other private organizations.

So why aren’t seniors taking advantage of this great new technology? Well, there are many reasons. But, when informally polled, most seniors say they aren’t familiar with the computer and don’t know anyone who is willing to take the time to teach them. If you fall into this category, here is some information you can use.

Did you know that Virgin Islands residents over age 60 can audit classes at the UVI for free? And, this includes computer classes. What better way to learn how to use the computer than to join college students who are learning the same information and skills and are willing and able to help.

The next semester at UVI will begin in January but seniors need to wait until late registration on Jan. 10. To take a class you must register and formally become a student in the class.

When you go to UVI to register you will need to bring:

1) your senior citizen card issued by the Department of Human Services

2) proof that you have been a resident of the territory for the last year

Documents that will be accepted as proof of residency include documents like a WAPA or phone bill.

You will not be required to pay for tuition, and you might not have to take a test unless you want to. If you complete all course requirements, like taking tests and completing assignments, you may work your way towards completion of a degree. To get the most out of the class, you will need to purchase the books and class supplies, (like a flash drive or storage disks) if you want to be able to read the class material or save your work.

So what are you waiting for? You too can become a computer wiz and join the millions of people who surf the web daily. And, you can learn this new skill for free at UVI. For further details contact UVI at 340-692-4158 on St. Croix and 340-693-1160 on St. Thomas.

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