Mary works on the computer at St. Louis Arc

Connecting Mary: the Story of one Spectrum Digital Education Grant Recipient

July 15, 2019

ST. LOUIS – Like many other retirees, Mary enjoys exploring new places and dining out at new restaurants. She lives in a home supported by St. Louis Arc, a nonprofit focused on helping people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Thanks to a Spectrum Digital Education Grant, St. Louis Arc established a Tech Café with adaptable technology, so residents like Mary can gain access to online resources and communicate with family and friends. She’s just one of the many who have benefited from the program since it began in 2017. 

Video Chats Connect Mary to Family & Friends

Mary smiling in the Tech Cafe

Access to the Tech Cafe at St. Louis Arc has opened up a whole new world for Mary, a participant in the Aging with Empowerment (AWE) program.

Mary is now able to video chat with family and friends, and share pictures and videos on social media – opening a new window to the world.

She uses the Tech Café to research new places to explore around St. Louis, and find restaurants that serve her favorite meal for lunch – a Cobb salad.

Mary also uses a special computer system called ‘It’s Never Too Late,’ with a variety of programs to help with memory care, a cycling simulator with bike pedals for exercise, plus other games and activities.

How Access to Technology Can Impact Lives

A row of computers at the Tech Center.

St. Louis Arc built their Tech Center with help from Spectrum Digital Education Grant funding.

St. Louis Arc saw a need for adaptable technology to empower people to lead better lives through digital education.

“Access to technology gives our residents greater independence and more ownership of their day-to-day routines,” said Mark Keeley, President and CEO, St. Louis Arc. “It’s amazing to see the smiles and experience the reaction when they use technology in ways many of us take for granted.”

Previously communication was limited. Now they’re able to connect much more frequently using social media and in ways that best suit the needs of everyone involved. 

Spectrum Digital Education 2019 Grant Cycle 

Lisa smiling at the camera with St. Louis Arc employee

Lisa and St. Louis Arc staff member Georgia have enjoyed the benefits of the new Tech Cafe.

In 2017, Spectrum made a $1 million commitment to provide digital education in our communities and over the last several years, dozens of nonprofits have received Spectrum Digital Education Grants. 

The Spectrum Digital Education Grant 2019 application period opens July 29

Click here for more information on Spectrum Digital Education and the grant process.