MONONA, Wis. — A national nonprofit is helping senior citizens master the internet.

The group is called Generations On Line. It is now in 31 Wisconsin counties.

“We’re dedicated to getting past the barriers that older adults face when trying new technology, especially the internet, said Tobey Dichter, Founder of Generations On Line. 

The nonprofit was started about 20 years ago and has now helped more than 100,000 adults. That includes Dorothy Genske in Monona.

“I can screw up anything that’s electronic,” she said with a laugh.

Genske frequents the Monona Senior Center. The center has been gifted with iPads that seniors can use to learn how to navigate the internet.  Instructions are provided through generations On Line.  

Senior Center Director Diane Mikelbank leads the classes twice per month.

“How Generations On Line helps is it’s a program that the seniors walk themselves through, self-paced,” she said. “When they’re children or grandchildren are teaching them on a tablet, they rush through it and don’t have much patience, but this gives them a self-paced program.”

Genske’s granddaughter gifted her an iPad for her birthday and now, thanks to the classes she’s taken, she can use it to video chat with her family.

“It’s been nice to be able to keep in touch and send her photos and videos and keep her connected to grandkids and great grandkids across the country,” her granddaughter Kate Helmich said.

The Monona Senior Center had iPads donated from the Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging resources.  

Generations On Line has been offered in senior centers, low-income housing complexes, public libraries, and nursing homes.

“We’ve had thousands and thousands more people using it since the pandemic started,” said Tobey.  “We have 118,000 people using this tutorial now.”

The non-profit was founded in Pennsylvania. To find out more, click here.