Since the pandemic began, GetSetUp classes have been a valuable resource for many community organizations and senior centers. As Senior Director of Community Education at Presbyterian Senior Services (PSS) in New York, Laurie Petersen oversees the organization’s use of the training tool, part of the PSS digital capacity-building efforts since 2020. PSS is thrilled to be awarding GetSetUp this year the fourth annual Impact Award for leadership in positive aging, which was established by its “Coming of Age” program, which inspires people 50 and older to live with passion and purpose.
"We use GetSetUp with in-person training for our older adult center members and supplement our bilingual programming with GetSetUp classes," Laurie says.
The use of GetSetUp classes varies depending on the personality of each center. In addition to three residences, PSS has 10 different centers spread across the different neighborhoods in New York City.
"For example, in a center that has more Spanish-speaking members, we use GetSetUp's Spanish classes to provide supplementary instruction. It's a huge benefit that more Spanish classes have been added to the GetSetUp schedule," Laurie explains. “We have introduced other members to the classes taught in Mandarin.”
She also noted that center interests vary based on the demographics of the centers. Those with more retirees from the business world can be more interested in business topics, along with the movement, cooking, travel, technology, and art classes popular across the board.
Helping to Fill Gaps in Programming
GetSetUp classes are available for PSS members to enjoy on their own as well. They can select the topics they find of most interest, taught in their chosen language. Depending on the center, classes may be done on tablets, in computer labs, or projected onto larger screens for group participation. GetSetUp is one more tool for the center's in-person activity directors.
"We do a lot of computer literacy and technology classes, and the learners come to know the GetSetUp instructor when it is a live class," Laurie explains.
While some participants continue taking classes at home outside of center hours, it can be challenging for others due to erratic internet bandwidths and connections. The PSS centers offer a consistent source of connectivity.
One Source for Diverse Center’s Programming Needs
The popularity of each class varies from center to center, and Laurie thinks it's helpful for the team to have one resource that attends to diverse needs.
"The interactive live tech classes are the most popular for some centers," she says.
One of the benefits of GetSetUp is the ability for multiple centers to join via video conference even though there is just one Guide in one place, allowing classes to reach a wider audience. This is particularly important for PSS, which has a diverse group of members with a wide range of interests, abilities, and language capabilities. The variety of classes allows PSS to find the right classes that resonate with the right groups.
Laurie appreciates that GetSetUp is working with her to give her team more lead time to schedule programming and really takes feedback to heart to improve the site. She believes that the more opportunities PSS has to utilize GetSetUp as companion classes, the more the centers will do so.
"We have found that GetSetUp can be a powerful tool for empowering our older adult community to stay connected, learn new skills, and continue growing and thriving," Laurie concludes.