Tech help focus of upcoming Peoria Area SeniorNet open house

By Ken Keenan for Chronicle Media

The Aug. 19 SeniorNet open house is designed to introduce area seniors to SeniorNet, an all-volunteer organization of seniors (ages 50 and up) whose goal is to promote computer literacy. (Photo courtesy of SeniorNet)

Seniors interested in learning more about computers and technology are invited to attend a Peoria Area SeniorNet open house, beginning at 10 a.m. Aug. 19 at First Baptist Church, in Peoria.

The event is designed to introduce area seniors to SeniorNet, an all-volunteer organization of seniors (ages 50 and up) whose goal is to promote computer literacy. The open house will serve as both an information session and opportunity for prospective students to register for fall classes and seminars, as well as spring 2024 classes.

“We’ve been around since 1989 in Peoria, but we’re still a well-kept secret,” said Peoria Area SeniorNet Public Relations Manager Ron Ziemba. “We have approximately 120 students, and we want to get the word out and increase the number of people. And it’s not limited to Peoria residents. We have students from Woodford and Tazewell (counties), too.”

SeniorNet instructors and coaches will be on hand to answer any questions about computers, smartphones and other new technologies. The overall intent is to provide present and future technology users with information that will help them in purchasing computers or smartphones, selecting computer accessories and choosing correlated classes.

In addition to smartphones, classes and seminars cover a variety of other topics, including tablets, social media, the Cloud, software products and more. Students learn how to touch up photos, send and receive them in emails, write autobiographies, manage personal and financial records, communicate with others across the country and more.

“People take classes for different reasons,” Ziemba said. “Smartphone classes are really popular, but the curriculum evolves into whatever is current, like genealogy, AI and fraud diversion.”

Classes are 90 minutes in length, and will be held at 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, beginning Sept. 11. Depending on the subject matter, classes can run from one to six weeks. Instructors and coaches will be available for one-on-one discussions as well. The fee is $1 per class or $3 for all six available classes.

“Some people take multiple classes, and some take just one,” Ziemba said. “We even have some people who have taken classes for five years. They find something they like and keep on coming. One student sent me an email saying that she placed her first order online and that she was able to send a message to a grandchild. If you want to communicate with younger people, technology is the answer.”

Ziemba said that students have also become interested in a new series of monthly “Coffee Klatch” meetings, designed as informal get-togethers to share information, ideas and discuss topics of the day.

“We just started the ‘Coffee Klatch,’ and the first one was extremely successful,” he said. “With our classes, we also have a sociability factor.”

Attendees to the open house are encouraged to park in the lot behind First Baptist Church (411 W. Lake Ave., at North Street) and use the east entrance.

Peoria Area SeniorNet, part of the National SeniorNet organization, is supported financially by the Illinois Eye Center, the Senior Care Network, Ameren Illinois and through donations from students.

For more information, call 800-457-1089 or visit