You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone as warm, delightful, or funny as Ruth Blevins. Ruth has been an Open University student for far longer than I’ve been at the Shepherd’s Center, and that’s almost a decade. Ruth has also enjoyed traveling with the Center. A few years ago, Ruth was concerned that she would no longer be able to drive to the OU, but her daughter stepped in and began bringing her mother.
Ruth won’t let a few extra years stop her from enjoying the Open University and her friends there. In fact, she just celebrated her 100th birthday!
Rosie Whitehorne and Carol Harris arranged a surprise for Ruth at the First Presbyterian OU. There was a cake, balloons, and a bouquet of flowers. When Ruth got out of the elevator, there was a gathering of well-wishers who sang happy birthday to her as she saw the cake.
Happy birthday, Ruth!
When I set out to redesign our website, the immediate challenge seemed to be how to create a site that would be “senior friendly”. I had to wonder ~ What exactly does that mean? I wanted to create a site that was easily navigated by the men and women who make up the extraordinary organization that I am privileged to direct, The Shepherd’s Center of Richmond. For more than 25 years, TSCOR (The Shepherd’s Center) has been a vital and vibrant part of the Richmond, Virginia community, though surprisingly few people know about it. TSCOR is all about people who are 50 and better, and there are some stereotypes that persist when it comes to “seniors” and computers, not to mention social media. There’s a notion that “they aren’t online”. So why bother with a website at all?
The fact is, that women over 55 are the fastest growing demographic group of Facebook users, and those over 60 are doing far more online than keeping up with the grandchildren. Take a look at this article from CMS Wire.com, Social Media Minute: Seniors Embrace the Web or this one from Mashable – Baby Boomers and Seniors are Flocking to Facebook Our stereotypes may need a drastic overhaul!
My staff and I have been to several conferences in the past year which focused on the need for non-profits to get with the program with respect to web presence and the use of social media. My task became clearer: Build a good website – period. The seniors will do just fine. There is a wealth of information on the web and in print about how to develop a non-profit site that will be accessible to your members, informative to those seeking to use your services, and clear to your donors. There is an enormous and ever-growing body of research available to guide non-profits as they begin to understand what motivates and inspires Baby Boomers to volunteer. Ultimately, the task was to distill some of this information and create what we hope will be a successful website. I did try to make it easy on the eyes with a black on white format and a font size that was easily readable.
So today, we’re celebrating the launch of The Shepherd’s Center’s new web home. There is still a little tweaking to do, but I think we’re ready to be a presence on the web and in the blogosphere. If you’re curious about what The Shepherd’s Center is and does, you’re warmly invited to take a tour! For our members, the over-50 crowd, WELCOME! Don’t hesitate to “share” this blog post on your Facebook page, or post a link in your twitter feed! I hope you’ll find the new site clear and easy to use.