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AAR's Wyoming Community Groups Keeping Busy

Posted on 07/02/19

Thayne Senior High Tech 2.jpg

By Tom Lacock

AARP Wyoming’s Senior High Tech program saw two more events take place since the beginning of the year and several others around the state start the planning process.

Senior High Tech brings high school student service organizations together with local senior centers or libraries to offer one-on-one tutoring on cell phones, mobile devices, and even laptops. The help is free, thanks to the volunteer hours offered by the student service organizations. During Senior High Tech events, high school students help citizens with questions such as finding old emails, sending photos to loved ones, or adding apps to a phone.

“Senior High Tech has proven to be a great way to engage across generations,” says Sam Shumway, State Director of AARP Wyoming. “The older participants get great value and support and the high school students connect with the community in a new innovative way.”

In March, students from the Cheyenne East High School Rotaract, the Cheyenne Triumph High School Rotaract, and the Cheyenne East High School Air Force JR ROTC brought their knowledge to the Laramie County Public Library in Cheyenne. The students helped 25 members of the public who came in seeking assistance, and a hot lasagna meal provided by the Triumph High School Culinary Arts program was enjoyed.

April 16 saw students participating in the SkillsUSA State Leadership and Skills Conference in Casper travel to the Casper Senior Center and perform another Senior High Tech event. SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers, and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. SkillsUSA helps each student excel by providing educational programs, events and competitions that support career and technical education (CTE) in the nation’s classrooms.

Students from the Student Council at Star Valley High School held their own Senior High Tech event on May 9 in Thayne.

During the month of February, AARP Wyoming sent out a note to Wyoming Senior Center Directors asking them if there was interest in holding a Senior High Tech event in their areas. As a result of that note, AARP Wyoming will be working to find student service organizations to put on Senior High Tech events in Sheridan, Pine Bluffs, Rawlins, Thermopolis, Shoshoni, Jackson, Green River, Rock Springs, and Cody over the next calendar year.

Senior High Tech is far from the only thing AARP Wyoming and its community action teams are doing. AARP Wyoming’s Community Action Teams kept busy with a number of local events.

Senior centers, or service organizations, interested in holding a Senior High Tech in your community can contact Tanya Johnson at: tajohnson@aarp.org.

Sheridan

Sheridan’s newly-established Community Action Team (CAT) held its first “Movies For Grownups” on Feb. 9, in partnership with the Wyo Theater. The event saw 81 individuals watch the movie “Catch Me If You Can.” AARP’s “Movies for Grownups” program seeks to fight social isolation by offering a free movie to those age 50 and over in the community. For more information on the program, or to inquire about a “Movies for Grownups” event in your community, contact Tanya Johnson at: tajohnson@aarp.org.

On April 2, the Sheridan CAT, participated in a Volunteer Fair hosted by The Hub on Smith. Approximately 20 non-profit organizations were invited to promote organizations and volunteer opportunities to the public and to other nonprofits.

Each nonprofit furnished food items to allow participants to move from booth to booth in order to make their meal. Some tables provided the bread, others provided the cheeses. The event drew roughly 250 people to The Hub on Smith. Carol and Jim Swartz, Wayne Schatz and Clarence Montano manned the table, which also allowed them to visit other organizations throughout the evening.

Casper

AARP’s Casper Action Team (CAT) spent the morning of March 22 at Eastridge Mall asking the public where it would like to see the group engage over the next year in the Oil City. The answers ranged from gardening events to helping make Casper more walkable, and even a suggestion of an AARP-sponsored block party. Those willing to stop and offer an opinion were rewarded with a free muffin and coffee.

While its name may suggest felines, Casper’s CAT showed it also has a soft spot for dogs, as it took part in its first 50 and 5 campaign, paying adoption fees for Natrona County residents age 50 and over adopting pets age five and over from the Humane Society in February. In all, there were five dogs and one cat who were adopted during the campaign with more demand than available funds for the adoptions.

On April 10-12, CAT members took part in the Casper College Wellness Fair. CAT lead Barb Summers presented the keynote speaker to the conference Friday morning, and the CAT team also maintained a display table during the event.

Each year since 2014, Casper’s Reveille Rotary, AARP Wyoming, the Blue Envelope Fund, Casper College, The Casper Fire-EMS, and the Casper College Fire Science program have partnered on Casper Seniors Smoke Alarm and Fall Prevention Event. This year the event was broken up into three dates with volunteers working April 6, 9, and 13 to change out smoke alarm batteries and doing work in homes of those age 50 and over to help residents avoid falls and fires. This includes considerations such as checking for tripping hazards, installing night lights, and making sure combustible materials are out of range of hot plates and stoves.

Casper’s Community Action Team has decided to partner with the Wyoming Foodbank of the Rockies to fill around 200 food boxes for seniors in need. The Foodbank reached out to AARP Wyoming to ask if the CAT would consider providing volunteers to help pack 200 supplemental food boxes each month. The boxes are distributed at four locations around Casper. For more information on the volunteer opportunity, or to see if you qualify for aid, go to:

Help For Seniors

Casper’s CAT will be at NicFest, June 7-9, in the same place the tent was a year ago. Stop by and meet the CAT team, which will be offering information on a number of AARP priorities in its tent.

Elsewhere in Wyoming

Green River hosted Dinner and a Movie on March 21 as 74 Sweetwater County residents came to the Golden Hour Senior Center to build burgers and watch the movie “City Slickers.”

AARP Wyoming Executive Council Member and Gillette native Billy Montgomery found himself manning the booth for AARP Wyoming at the Campbell County Senior Health Fair April 12, handing out information on caregiving and tips for avoiding fraud.

AARP Wyoming has been a common sight at the Promoting our Women Warriors of Wyoming in recent years. On May 18, AARP Wyoming was once again a sponsor of the event. Promoting Our Women Warriors Of Wyoming is an annual outreach event for all women who have served in the uniformed services that are from Wyoming or the surrounding areas. This event was designed to recognize, celebrate, and appreciate our Women Veterans from all service branches of Uniformed Service.

Upcoming Events

Forward Greater Cheyenne recently contacted AARP and asked the organization to join the effort. The Forward Greater Cheyenne Community and Economic Development Strategy presents eight strategic initiatives that are designed to help Greater Cheyenne achieve its vision for the future and provide greater opportunities for generations to come.

AARP Wyoming is looking for Cheyenne-based volunteers willing to take part on the Forward Greater Cheyenne Pride Committee. The Pride committee will launch a newcomer welcoming initiative, and support the evolution of the Cheyenne Professional Network into a more inclusive and impactful catalyst for positive change in the community. AARP Wyoming is also interested in engaging with Forward Greater Cheyenne’s Beautification subcommittee, which is interested in investing in corridor and gateway improvements to improve first impressions, as well as proactively mitigating blight in town to promote beautification in targeted neighborhoods.

If you read either of those subcommittee descriptions and you think it sounds like you, call Tanya Johnson or email her at: tajohnson@aarp.org to get connected.

One of AARP Wyoming’s most established community groups is one that meets monthly at the Fox Crest Senior Housing Division in east Cheyenne. On June 12 from 11 a.m. -1 p.m. the group will have its annual summer picnic at the south park shelter of Lion’s Park. In past years the picnic has taken place in AARP Wyoming headquarters. However, with the move of the AARP Wyoming office in June, it has been decided that this year’s picnic will be held at Lion’s Park.

Each week the Fox Crest group brings in a speaker for a one-hour presentation. On May 8, they left the confines of Fox Crest to tour the new terminal at The Cheyenne Regional Airport.

The Fox Crest group from Cheyenne took part in the Cheyenne Day of Giving on May 10. The Cheyenne Day of Giving is a day in which the churches, community groups, and local businesses come together to help the sick and economically disadvantaged. For more information on the Fox Crest Community Group, contact Don Morris at 307-421-5739.

Sweetwater County pets and their owners are looking forward to the 2019 Care for Critters Campaign, which helps seniors pay for food, vaccines, and other items for their pets through donations, as well as funding from AARP Wyoming. This year’s Care for Critters event is took place April 22-May 17.

Last year, in Green River alone, the program filled out 126 tags, providing over $1,050 in veterinary services, and helping 26 dogs, eight cats, two birds, and one family of fish. The Care for Critters campaign kicked off April 22 with a dinner at the Young At Heart Senior Center in Rock Springs. The pot roast dinner started at 6 p.m., followed by a presentation by Wyoming Game and Fish’s Lucy Diggins-Wold. On May 30 at 11 a.m., the Golden Hour Senior Center will host a french dip sandwich luncheon to celebrate the end of the campaign. Both meals are free, thanks to a grant from AARP Wyoming. For more information, contact Irish Kreis at 307.872.3223 or kreisi@sweet.wy.us

This story is provided by AARP Wyoming. Visit the AARP Wyoming page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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