Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the donation of more than 700 Google Nexus 7 tablets to libraries and senior centers located throughout Sandy-affected areas of Suffolk County. The tablets will help older individuals maintain their independence and stay connected with their communities. The Office of Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone is assisting with the distribution of the tablets to the senior centers, starting today at the Rose Caracappa Senior Center in Mt. Sinai, NY.
As many New Yorkers continue to recover and rebuild from the devastation of Superstorm Sandy, the generous support of companies like Google is a tremendous source of aid and encouragement, Governor Cuomo said. These tablets will provide an important resource to help residents in Suffolk County connect within and outside their communities. In todays world, technology can significantly enhance our quality of life, and I thank Google for stepping up for the States hard-hit residents and businesses as we work to reimagine New York for the new reality of extreme weather.
The New York Department of State is happy to have played a role in the ongoing recovery efforts, said New York Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales, whom Governor Cuomo placed as Super Storm Sandy Donations Coordinator last year. Id like to thank Google, Governor Cuomo and County Executive Bellone for the wonderful spirit of cooperation and their commitment to the people of New York and their communities.
Acting Director of the NYS Office for the Aging Corinda Crossdale said, I applaud Google's generosity, Governor Cuomo's ongoing leadership to help New York residents affected by Super Storm Sandy to rebuild their lives and communities, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Suffolk County Office for the Aging Director Holly Rhodes-Teague for their tireless service and advocacy on behalf of older residents, and recognizing the importance of social connectedness for older adults. One of the indicators of aging well is how socially engaged an individual is. The availability of these tablets at senior centers and other community locations provides Suffolk County's older residents an additional tool to not only stay connected, but learn more about programs and services that are available through the office for the aging, and become more accustomed to using technology that could enhance their quality of life."
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said, I thank Governor Cuomo and Secretary of State Cesar Perales for coordinating the donation of tablets to senior centers throughout Suffolk County and for helping those areas affected and still recovering from Super Storm Sandy. The donations of the Google tablets to senior centers within Suffolk County will assist seniors in becoming acquainted with emerging technology and provide a medium for them to combat senior isolation.
Older adults can become isolated for many reasons, including inability to drive or a loss of ability to take public transportation, visual impairments and impairments that affect their physical functioning, as well as from chronic conditions such as arthritis and diabetes that may affect their daily lives. Studies have found that older, more isolated individuals have much higher rates of mortality from breast cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease and other chronic diseases. To help combat senior isolation, libraries and senior centers will employ tablets in teaching seniors to use video-chatting and other electronic communication services as a way to keep them connected to their friends and families.
Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine said, "I am thankful to the Governor and the Secretary of State for making these tablets available to Brookhaven residents. Access to the internet is vital, especially for seniors who can have so much information right at their fingertips and most importantly, it will help them keep in touch with their family and friends through email and social media. I'm sure they will put these tablets to very good use."
Approximately 17,000 Google Nexus 7 tablets were donated by Google to assist New Yorkers impacted by Super Storm Sandy. The tablets were donated by Google to the New York State Community Action Association (NYSCAA), a 501c-3 not-for-profit that provides services and advocacy to improve the lives of people throughout New York. The State of New York, with the help of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, facilitated initial storage and distribution of the tablets to central locations in Sandy-affected areas. Suffolk Countys Office of the Aging will distribute tablets to Senior Centers throughout the County that have agreed to accept the donation.
Suffolk County Office for the Aging Director Holly Rhodes-Teague said, We are truly thankful to Google, Governor Cuomo, Secretary Perales and the NYS Community Action Association for the donation of tablets. These tablets will go a long way in helping to expose our seniors to technology and providing them the opportunity to become familiar with the use of these devices.
The donated tablets are already supporting a wide range of programs throughout New York State. Some of those programs include:
- Libraries are using the tablets in job training, work skills and English-for-Speakers-of-Other-Languages classes, and as e-reader loaners in the areas where libraries have not yet reopened
- Small business development organizations are integrating tablets into onsite business assistance and training classes. The organizations also provide assistance to a high school entrepreneurship program run in about 30 underserved schools in New York City by New York State Small Business Development Centers.
- Community centers are using the tablets in their programs to move young people living in poverty towards STEM and other high-skilled careers, as well as to assist their parents gain and improve technology-based job skills.