linkAges Partner Spotlight: Mountain View Public Library

Every month, we’ll be spotlighting different linkAges partners and the wonderful contributions they’ve made to our community.

This month, discover how we’re working with Ellen Thayn, Adult and Virtual Services Librarian and Karin Mente, Adult and Virtual Services Librarian from the Adult Services Department at the Mountain View Public Library to bring technology access to more older adults in Mountain View!

 


 

Tell us a little bit about your organization. 

The Library’s mission is to be the information center for our diverse community providing a dynamic place to share resources and ideas, to find joy in reading, and to experience the power of lifelong learning.

The Adult Services department at the Mountain View Public Library specifically provides community programming and resources.  Librarians plan and present events for the community. Librarians also evaluate and purchase physical and digital resources for the library’s collection. We strive to have a collection of free materials that meet all our community’s needs.

How did you first learn about linkAges?

We first heard about linkAges when City Hall hosted a linkAges SkillShare event last September.  It sounded like such a brilliant and simple idea that we were immediate fans.  So many people who visit the library either have something in mind that they want to learn, or they have an idea that they want to share with the community, so to the Library and linkAges are the perfect match!

How have linkAges members connected with your organization?

linkAges members volunteered for a technology tutoring night at our library. During the event, linkAges volunteers paired with Library customers to demonstrate and teach basic computer skills.  Everyone who attended the event praised the volunteers on their helpfulness.  The Library looks forward to partnering with linkAges for similar events in the future.

What is one thing you love about working in your community?

Being engaged with the community is the best part of being a librarian at the Mountain View Public Library. Every day we work with members of the community to fulfill their information needs, whether that is gathering resources for starting their own business, locating a historic photo of Moffett Field, or even finding a way to de-stress and relax with a book (or at our coloring programs!) We truly believe in lifelong learning and we love being the place where the community can both learn and share in knowledge.

A new way to engage with your community

Here at linkAges, we’re always looking for opportunities to create meaningful connections. From meeting a group of members at a local coffee shop to play a new board game or learning how to make kefir smoothies at one of our TimeBank Tales, linkAges members can look forward to new ways to engage with their community.

Starting this month, we are excited to announce the launch of our new yearlong engagement campaign!

What you can look forward to:

  • Quarterly themes that will be announced in our monthly newsletter. We hope these broad themes will inspire linkAges members to try new things, meet new people and, of course, give back to our community through acts of kindness.
  • Monthly sub-topics that correspond to that quarter’s themes. For example, during the quarterly theme of “Meet Someone New,” we’ll be encouraging linkAges members and partners to do cross-city exchanges and cross-cultural events in order to build intergenerational connections.
  • Exchanging with new and old members around popular linkAges topics like technology, gardening and pet care.
  • One large community event per quarter hosted by your linkAges team.

How you can get involved:

  • Post Offers or Requests on the linkAges website related to the theme.
  • Attend an event or workshop hosted by a linkAges member or partner related to the theme.
  • Share your linkAges stories here on our blog.

Stay tuned for the unveiling of next month’s subtopic and activities!

 

glasses

linkAges Partner Spotlight: Town of Los Altos Hills

For the second year in a row, we partnered with the Town of Los Altos Hills, Parks and Recreation Department to put on a successful Technology for Seniors event!

You’ve checked out the event photos on Facebook – now , learn more about our partnership from Sarah Gualtieri, Community Services Supervisor.


Tell us a little bit about your organization.

We are dedicated to serving the Town of Los Altos Hills.

How did you first learn about linkAges?

I learned about linkAges through the Los Altos/Los Altos Hills Senior Commission. We partnered a few years ago for a joint venture for Technology Training for Seniors. This event was successful and I am proud to say that the program continues to run today.

How have linkAges members connected with your organization/department?

I work directly with the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Community Outreach Department. They have been extremely professional and reliable. I always look forward to partnering with their team.

What in one thing you love about working in your community?

The community I serve is so passionate. Every day I look forward to making a positive impact through community events and programming.

tech for seniors blog pic
Emily, a Los Altos Hills Youth Volunteer, helps a community member learn how to use her tablet.

linkAges Launches in Santa Cruz

We’re delighted to announce the expansion of linkAges, our neighborhood service-exchange network, into Santa Cruz! The linkAges team has been busy meeting with local community organizations, city officials and community members to spread the word about linkAges and adapt the program to the city’s unique culture. We’ve been inspired by the Santa Cruz community’s positive response to the program and look forward to helping create meaningful social connections across the city.

Santa Cruz Tech Day participantsWe kicked off linkAges member recruitment at our Tech Day for Older Adults event at Live Oak Senior Center on December 5, 2015. More than 30 seniors attended the event, met new people and received helpful tips for using their tech devices. Attendees surprised our team by bringing snacks for everyone to munch on throughout the day. We were thrilled to be welcomed so warmly.

One attendee, Cindy, learned how to use Skype so she can chat withcindy getting help with skype her friends in France. Others learned how to get the most out of their iPads and smartphones from tech-savvy volunteers like Elaine, a history professor at University of California, Santa Cruz. Local community members, linkAges members, and linkAges staff volunteered to teach technology skills, and many friendships formed between the older adults and volunteers.

Since Tech Day, we have also hosted several linkAges orientations at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History to introduce local community members to the benefits of linkAges and help them sign up.

Thank you to the Live Oak Senior Center and Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History for their generous support and donation of space.

Upcoming linkAges Events

We’ll be hosting more exciting events in Santa Cruz in the upcoming months. If you or someone you know in Santa Cruz would like to join linkAges, go to http://www.linkages.org, click “Sign Up” in the top right corner and use the code sccommunity. Check out our Facebook page for news about upcoming events.

 

Fall Harvest Party

In the latest in a series of TimeBank Tales events, we recently hosted a Fall Harvest Party at the Red Morton Community Center in Redwood City. With the generous donation of this space from Redwood City Parks and Recreation, this event was intended not to only bring TimeBankers together, but also to celebrate our launch of the TimeBank service exchange program in the Redwood City community earlier this year. linkAges members, staff and volunteers all came together to enjoy an afternoon of seasonal food, crafts, games and fun in a festive atmosphere.

finger paintingTimeBank members Kent, Pauline and Wendy volunteered their time to demonstrate some of the arts and crafts they commonly offer as service exchanges to other members through linkAges.

Kent led participants through finger-painting and bottle art craft activities. It was quite striking to see the vibrant multicolored work people were able to create with their fingers– no brushes required! They say that there is a kid in all of us and this was apparent as members joyfully explored the tactile qualities of paint.

wendy pie demoWendy enthralled everyone with pie-making demonstrations, working the pastry expertly into perfectly- formed crusts and adding delicious fillings. Members absorbed every instruction, presumably anticipating opportunities to put the techniques to use in the upcoming holiday season.

 

flower demoPauline, a retired floral designer of 30 years, captivated the attention of several would-be-florists by assembling easy-to-make flower arrangements in mugs. You could see the delight as members created professional-looking arrangements quickly and with limited materials.

Under the watchful eye of game master and linkAges staffer, Dominic, guests tried their hand at ring-tossing and pumpkin-bowling. Under Dominic’s tutelage, members honed their hand-to-eye coordination to Olympic standards. Well, to TimeBank Tales standards at least.

Members contributed a lavish array of seasonal treats that included turkey, pies, salads, dips, cakes, vegetarian options and more. Few times of the year can match the fall for eating well, and eat well we did! There is also something to be said about eating a meal together. One of the earliest linkAges members, Clea Holdridge, captured this perfectly in our What Members are Saying video, “You cook a good meal and it’s fine…but if you share with it with somebody, it’s another feeling altogether.”

Want to get a glimpse of the fun? See the short Fall Harvest Party video here.

The TimeBank Tales program was created to promote community spirit, and to bring members together to enjoy activities and share stories about service exchanges and life in general. We try to select a variety of events that appeal to the program’s diverse membership. In the past we have featured Yoga, Bhangra Dance, Tai Chi and Pilates to name a few. For a list of upcoming linkAges events, please visit our website at https://timebank.linkages.org.

A New Look for linkAges TimeBank

We are excited to announce the release of a newly redesigned website for the linkAges TimeBank.

You will notice the simple design, easier to navigate menus, and more member options to personalize your linkAges experience. At just a glance, you can now view new members, events and groups, and hours in your account. The site is also available on multiple devices, giving you an improved user experience whether you access it from your personal computer, tablet or smartphone.

1. Welcome_New Homepage

Three things you’ll love about the new linkAges TimeBank website:

  • Registration – New members can register using a seamless registration process with shorter steps and just a few clicks.
  • Profile Builder – A step-by-step profile builder allows you to easily add information about yourself to share with other members and start making new member connections.
  • Groups – Connect with other members around interests, hobbies and needs through public and private groups, and support local non-profit organizations in your city.

There are many more features to this new rollout. We invite you to take some time and check out the new site.

Making new friendships through TimeBanking

In June, linkAges TimeBank members welcomed the start of summer with a potluck hosted by one of their fellow members, Wendy.

Wendy is a retired home economics teacher who lives in Mountain View with her dog, Amber. Nowadays, she enjoys golfing, playing bridge, travelling and making new friends through the TimeBank. In fact, one of the main reasons why the TimeBank appealed to her was the opportunity to meet new people and exchange skills.

“I first heard about the linkAges TimeBank at El Camino YMCA, and I thought it was a great idea and a wonderful way to meet other people,” said Wendy. “I have a lot of skills that I like sharing with others, so [joining the TimeBank] seemed like a good way to do this.”

Wendy at red rock orientation
Wendy at her linkAges TimeBank orientation

Since she joined the TimeBank in fall 2014, Wendy has had many opportunities to forge new friendships.

Through the TimeBank website, Wendy met her first exchange partner, Gloria, and the two discovered that they were actually neighbors. During their exchange, Gloria helped clean out Wendy’s gutters and even offered to properly dispose of Wendy’s hazardous paint materials. In this same exchange, Wendy taught Gloria how to make a perfect pie crust, which is a recipe that Gloria still makes for her husband today.

More recently, Wendy connected with another member, Sidney, who had just moved to Mountain View from Taiwan with her father and sister. Wendy gives rides to Sidney’s father, who is taking ESL classes at a school nearby, and even offered to practice English with him. Wendy was also able to share one of her passions with Sidney and her father: playing bridge.

Besides doing service exchanges, Wendy enjoys connecting with other others at our monthly TimeBank Tales events. She has “caroled for a cause” at El Camino Hospital and brought her dog Amber along for a puppy playdate with other pet-lovers on the TimeBank.

Among her favorite event so far have been the technology days for older adults. As a new iPad owner, Wendy appreciated the opportunity to learn the tips and tricks of using a tablet from younger, tech-saavy TimeBank members and high school volunteers who were eager to share their knowledge with others.

“I take iPad classes at the Apple Store and the Mountain View Senior Center, but sometimes they go too fast for me. I learn all this stuff, and then I forget it,” Wendy said. “Although my technology skills are still limited, I really appreciated how patient the [volunteers] were at these tech events.”

Wendy receiving tech help from TimeBank member, Mark
Wendy receiving tech help from TimeBank member, Mark

After a year of exchanging and engaging as a member, Wendy wanted to give back to the TimeBank community by hosting a potluck at her home.

“I really enjoy having people over,” said Wendy, “I love potlucks because you get to eat so many different things. I always encourage potlucks with my friends because they’re so much fun and an easy way to entertain.”

Over 25 TimeBank members and their family and friends came to the event in June. One member also brought their dog over to keep Amber company! Guests sipped on fresh strawberry lemonade and sangria as they helped themselves to a delicious spread that included chow fun, zesty quinoa salad, vegan avocado potato salad, queso, chili, crustless artichoke quiche, and more.

Wendy and her canine companion, Amber
Wendy and Amber, her canine companion, hosting a member potluck at their home

Wendy’s favorite part of the potluck was seeing old friends, like Sidney, and meeting new friends who are now potential exchange partners.

“I made lots of new connections at the potluck,” said Wendy. “I even got a card from one of the ladies thanking me for having everyone over,”

For additional event photos, check out our Facebook page.