Upper Shore Aging was just awarded a $33,000 T-Mobile Hometown Grant to update the Talbot County Senior Center’s technology at the Brookletts Place computer lab, including 20 computer stations to provide the senior community with access to connectivity, classes, and hands-on learning opportunities. Brookletts Place is part of Upper Shore Aging, Inc., a nonprofit organization that is the designated Area Agency on Aging (USA) for Talbot, Caroline, and Kent counties.
T-Mobile has been investing in rural towns for over five years and to date, has distributed $9 million among 42 states for grant projects. Projects supported have included upgrading and revitalizing community buildings to include bingo halls and libraries; installing free public Wi-Fi; creating a state-of-the-art open-air body weight exercise fitness court; restoring a water-damaged roof; and commissioning a mural to celebrate the people, their history, and honor their communities.
Walter Black, who was the Master of Ceremonies for the award ceremony at Brookletts Place, commented, “My wife Clairdean and I are both members of Brookletts Place and actively participate in many of the activities they sponsor. I am also a member of Blake Blackston American Legion Post #77, which has been an ongoing financial supporter of this facility since the very beginning. As you may not be aware, Brookletts Place is a part of the larger Upper Shore Aging’s network of support for our senior community.”
“This Center was dedicated in 2009 and has offered numerous educational opportunities, including computer classes at all levels. Unfortunately, the computers are now outdated and can no longer be upgraded, so teaching classes has become a challenge for our instructor and they are not user-friendly for those who need to use the computer for themselves. This grant will replace not only the 16 computers and monitors in the computer lab but the computers for staff as well.”
The initiative started in 2021 and is part of T-Mobile’s greater effort to connect rural areas and empower communities. T-Mobile awards up to 25 Hometown Grants each quarter with a population of 50,000 or less.
“T-Mobile’s Hometown Grants initiative shows big love for small towns, driving positive change in communities nationwide by funding $25 million in projects over a massive 5-year commitment,” said Dontay Taylor, the Rural Market Manager from T-Mobile.
“I want to thank everyone for coming to this celebration and I want to thank T-Mobile for selecting us. The Center is one of 25 grantees in the nation that received an award. We are blessed,” stated Childlene Brooks, Manager of the Talbot County Senior Center at Brookletts Place.
Andy Hollis, Executive Director of Upper Shore Aging added, “This is a senior center and also a community center. These computers in that computer lab are available for everyone in our community, not just for seniors. Make sure you get that word out. We want to make sure that we use this technology to the greatest extent possible.”
Jennifer Neal-Acree, Director of Senior Centers and Nutrition at USA, shared that the upgrades would not only benefit seniors at the Talbot County Senior Center but would enable other senior center attendees in other counties to come and learn as well. Plus, according to Bill Shrieves, President of the Board of Directors at Upper Shore Aging, T-Mobile staff will also be available to help seniors with their cell phones.
“We are appreciative that T-Mobile chose to invest in the Talbot County Senior Center in the Town of Easton. As a recipient of a T-Mobile Hometown Grant, this will allow Upper Shore Aging to transform an outdated computer lab at Brookletts Place into a community space, where seniors and others can have computer class time and related internet access. This grant helps address the critical needs of broadband access in a rural community and is so very much needed. Like T-Mobile, Easton and Upper Shore Aging are in the business of connecting people, and because of this grant, we will be able to connect people in a new and exciting way,“ added Mayor Megan Cook.