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University Hospital's OASIS program receives $20,000 from Verizon Foundation for senior internet mentoring program

University Hospital's OASIS program has received a $20,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation to support an internet mentoring program for middle school students and senior citizens.

The grant from Verizon Foundation will be used to purchase desktop computers and other hardware for a computer lab, to be located in OASIS's Shoppingtown Mall site, which is expected to open later this year.

"The support from the Verizon Foundation provides us with the tools needed to build a successful internet mentoring program," said Lauren Feiglin, director of University Hospital's OASIS program. "We are extremely grateful for the foundation's support."

"This is an exciting intergenerational program. It not only demonstrates how technology bridges the digital divide, it shows how middle school students and seniors can develop positive relationships," said Thomas Owens, director of Verizon Community Affairs.

The internet mentoring program called "We've Got Mail" will pair middle school students with OASIS members through e-mail. Students and OASIS members will e mail each other weekly to discuss specific topics related to classroom instruction. Senior mentors and their middle school student partners will meet prior to the beginning of the program at the OASIS center in Shoppintown Mall during a special kick-off event slated for later this year.

Feiglin said the program will benefit both students and mentors. "For the older adult, this program provides a meaningful mentoring opportunity as well as a chance to become more proficient on the computer," she said. "For the student, this program provides them with a chance to sharpen technology skills and enhance their education and benefit from a meaningful relationship with an older adult."

OASIS is a national organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for people ages 55 and older. University Hospital's OASIS program, which currently has more than 1,300 members, offers a broad scope of classes, special events and volunteer opportunities. For information on OASIS, call 315-464-6555.

Verizon Foundation supports programs that create innovative e-solutions, help bridge the digital divide, foster basic and computer literacy, help enrich our communities and create a skilled workforce. Verizon Foundation promotes partnerships in technology with organizations serving the needs of diverse communities, people with disabilities, and the economically and socially disadvantaged. For more information on Verizon Foundation, visit www.verizon.com/foundation on the internet.