Lawrence Township launches ‘Senior Connect’ program

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Reaching across the digital divide, Lawrence Township officials have launched the “Senior Connect” program to inform those senior citizens about township activities who are not linked in to the internet or who do not follow social media.

To keep the senior citizens in the loop, a packet of information is being prepared twice per month and will be left for review at the Lawrence Township Senior Center at 30 E. Darrah Lane, next to the Lawrence Branch of the Mercer County Library System.

The packet of information will also be left for review in the Lawrence Township Municipal Clerk’s Office and at the Lawrence Township Recreation Department office at the municipal building at 2207 Lawrenceville Road.

The Lawrence Township Senior Center and the Lawrence Township Municipal Building are open weekdays, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

The packets of information will not be available to take home.

Municipal Manager Kevin Nerwinski said the idea for the Senior Connect program grew out of his conversations with the senior citizens who would call him, the mayor or Lawrence Township Council members to express their concerns about various community issues.

“I have taken many calls from senior residents, and from these conversations, it is clear that they do not have the information that is easily available on our website or our social media accounts,” Nerwinski said.

“These residents are interested in what is happening, but they do not seek out information other than through contacting me or the mayor and township council members or what is reported in the local newspapers,” Nerwinski said.

The result is that they feel disconnected, Nerwinski said. Most of his telephone conversations end with the residents telling him that they were not aware of the information that addressed their concerns, which reinforces the need to find a way to make them feel connected, he said.

“We are missing an important audience in terms of providing residents with information and being transparent in our process. If we want to reach them, we will have to do more – which is to produce our information in a form that they are most comfortable with,” Nerwinski said.

That format is print, and that’s why the packets of information are being printed in “hard copy” form.

The mayor and Lawrence Township Council believe that the Senior Connect program is an important step in closing the gap and reaching as many residents as possible, he said. The new program’s sole purpose is to produce information in a form that captures an audience that is not on the internet, he added.

To help get the word out, Nerwinski has suggested that township residents who are digitally savvy could help Lawrence Township by spreading the word about the Senior Connection – especially if they have an elderly friend or relative who they think would be interested.

The initial edition of “Senior Connect,” which is available on the township’s website at www.lawrencetwp.com, contains information from dog licensing month, which is January, to information on a free rabies vaccination clinic.

It lists the January health programs at the Lawrence Senior Center, how to sign up for the Trenton Water Works reverse 911 system for telephone alerts about water quality issues, the dates for the monthly Lawrence Hopewell Trail Saturday morning walking club, and frequently asked questions about the township’s brush collection program.

The monthly calendar of activities and programs for the Lawrence Senior Center is included in Senior Connect, plus the Mercer County Park Commission’s monthly newsletter.

Seniors can even check out Municipal Manager Kevin Nerwinski’s blog, in which he discusses a variety of issues. https://lawrencetownshipnjmanagerkpn.blogspot.com/