Manzanita Writers Press is launching a new program that will use funds from a $25,000 California Humanities grant to provide technology classes for seniors, beginning in March, while also providing opportunities for area youth to learn interviewing and film skills.
The end result will be an archive record of oral histories of “elders” in the area, “including family stories of the miners, ranchers, settlers, and Native Peoples of Calaveras, Amador and Tuolumne counties,” according to an October 2022 press release.
“We are excited about partnering with a talented team of local professionals and volunteers dedicated to preserving Mother Lode history in Calaveras, Amador, and Tuolumne counties— community television, our museums, and historical societies, libraries, local historians, arts councils, volunteer and senior centers, youth groups, churches, medical facilities, educational institutions, business owners, and so many more wonderful team members,” said Monika Rose, director of Manzanita Writers Press.
Beginning in March, every Tuesday at 10 a.m. Calaveras residents age 55 and over will be able to participate in a technology class at the Calaveras Senior Center in San Andreas, free of charge. “Tech Tuesday” classes will cover topics in online communications, from using tools like Zoom to understanding smartphones and online safety. Sarah Lunsford of CCTV and other professionals will teach these in-person classes.
March classes will center around online conference app Zoom with topics such as how to communicate with friends and family, Zoom safety, and how to share pictures in Zoom. Seniors will learn on their own smartphones, iPads, or laptops.
In April, seniors learn all about smartphones, including a brief introduction to smartphones and topics such as safety, Wi-Fi, taking photos, and using apps. A class on Monday, April 10, will be dedicated to iPhone users, and another on Tuesday, April 11, will be for Android users. Attendance is limited for these classes, and those interested in participating are encouraged to contact the Calaveras Senior Center to sign up.
Following each class, seniors are invited to stay and visit for lunch, which is available for a fee. Lunches are offered by the Calaveras Senior Center from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for $8 for a full entree with soup, salad bar, and dessert or $6 for soup and salad bar. Lunches are open to the public and all ages.
These classes mark the return to in-person gatherings for the Manzanita writer’s groups, which have carried on virtually throughout the pandemic. In addition to the senior technology classes, the Manzanita Writers Press Voices of Wisdom group will return to in-person meetings, also at the senior center, and will meet every Friday morning from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. beginning in March. Calaveras County Poet Laureate Linda Toren has been the director of the Voices of Wisdom program since 2020. The group, now in its sixth year, includes writing sessions and workshops for writers age 50 and over.
In-person meetings provide seniors with a sense of community and friendship, says Rose, and having them at the senior center with lunch to follow gives writers a chance to socialize outside of their group, too.
Manzanita Writers Press will continue some meetings online, though, like their Monday night writers’ group that provides feedback for dedicated writers of all ages. Manuscripts are sent out ahead of meetings so they can be read beforehand and feedback can be given by peers during the meetings. The group is open to writers of all ilks and genres, but is inviteonly. Those interested in joining the group can send an email to ask for an invitation.
Manzanita Writers Press is a nonprofit literary publisher dedicated to supporting and publishing the work of local authors in the Mother Lode. The organization has published several group anthologies of writing from local authors, including four anthologies from the Voices of Wisdom group and an anthology of poetry and prose around the Butte Fire, “Out of the Fire,” which was published in 2017. Dozens of additional titles ranging in genre from poetry to memoirs and children’s books have been published since its formation in 2015. In 2022, Manzanita Writers Press published Toren’s book of haiku poetry, “Raven Braids the Wind,” and award-winning Bay Area author Kevin Arnold’s book of poetry, “Do Not Think Badly of Me.”
For more information on Manzanita Writers Press, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (209) 728-6117. Information is also available online at manzapress.com and at facebook.com/ manzanitawriterspress. For information on the Calaveras Senior Center, contact Lucy Thein at (209) 754-3967. The Calaveras Senior Center is located at 956 Mountain Ranch Road in San Andreas.
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