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New Ways to Connect, Share & Learn During Covid 19

The Covid-19 pandemic has made many things difficult, especially communication. In these difficult times, we do not have all of the same opportunities to connect with our relatives, friends and community. Some can connect through internet-based services like email, video-calling or video conferencing. But, for many in our community, internet access is either not available or is too costly. Some people don’t have the skills or equipment to use these forms of communication technology. As a result, many are left feeling lonely and isolated during this time, especially with the closure of recreational centres and clubs.

Connections Adult Learning, with two grants and their base funding, are trying to help.

One grant is from Older Adult Centres’ Association of Ontario (OACAO), for a concept called Seniors’ Centres Without Walls (SCWW). This funding will help support a telephone conferencing platform with toll-free call-in for up to 100 participants plus the mailing costs of any necessary pre-call materials.  This interactive, free program will help seniors socialize from the comfort and safety of their own home. The multi-person phone conversations (or conference calls), require no special equipment – just your average phone.  There will be a variety of different activities, stories, games and workshops.

Connections also plans to teach introductory courses for computers, tablets and smart phones. “We feel that there are some out there that may wish to explore things like Internet, email and video calls, but either don’t have the equipment, internet or knowledge. This can give them a chance to learn and gain c0onfidence, with no expenditure but their time and curiosity,” says Joyce Bigelow, Connections Executive Director. “We will be able to provide them with the necessary equipment, if they do not already have it.” This has been made possible through another grant, from Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund, administered by Community Foundation for Kingston & Area. It will allow Connections to purchase tablets, iPads, laptops and internet (cellular) data equipment and plans. These will be available for loan, if a participant needs them.

Connections has many other programs planned to help people connect during the pandemic. Some examples are Digital Scrapbooking, Soapstone Carving, Pallet Projects, No-till Gardening, Quickbooks, Indigenous Crafts and Genealogy.

Funding for the instructors will be covered through Connections’ Literacy and Basic Skills funding an Employment Ontario program funded in part by the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario Funding through the Canada-Ontario Job Fund Agreement.

“We really appreciate all the support we have received from these three funders. Without them we would not be able to provide all the free learning and sharing opportunities for adults in our community that we do. They have really helped us provide ways to fight the effects of this pandemic’s isolation effects.” Says Bigelow.

For information on Connections’ free learning programs, call 613-279-2499 or email You may find them on Facebook as “Connections Adult Learning” or visit their website at  or .

Digital Scrapbooking with Affinity Photo Course

Flyer for Free Digital Scrapbooking with Affinity Photo Online Course

Make great memories with this new FREE Digital Scrapbooking course. Learn to use Affinity Photo to edit your photos to improve quality and add interesting or fun effects. Using layers, build pages with backgrounds, photos, print and graphics. Learn where to download backgrounds and embellishments. Get a free 60 day trial of the Affinity Photo while you learn the basics of the program. Weekly Zoom meetings: Wednesdays, September 9 to October 30, 2020. Pre-registration required. email: online

New! Free Distance Learning

Stay home, stay safe, stay learning graphic

Connections is now offering FREE online courses. Currently, we are running online classes in QuickBooks Online and Container Gardening. Don’t worry if you have missed the start of these courses, just give us a call or an email to register, as they will be available on an ongoing basis. Contact details at the bottom of this blog or on our Contact Us page.

We are working on three other programs that should come online, one at a time, starting in late June. We are already taking advance registrations, through both of our sites, for Digital Scrapbooking, Excel Basics and Improving your Reading While Studying for the G1 Licence Test. See the details of these programs further below.

What makes our online training options worthwhile, other than the fact they are free, is our friendly, knowledgeable instructors, who are always willing to help. They can be available to assist you by phone, email or online written, audio or video chat. These meetings and chats may be carried out individually and/or with a class group. Your successful completion of your learning is very important to all of us.


Digital ScrapbookingDon’t lose all the special moments into the digital neverland! Take pictures, search your photo archives, pick themes and enhance and display your photos. Try new ideas and techniques with images, elements, borders, backgrounds and text. Use the highly acclaimed and powerful photo editing software, Affinity Photo, (Windows, Mac or iPad downloadable). With its 90 free trial, it will cost you nothing and if ou love it, the one time purchase feel is ver reasonable.

Excel Basics – In this FREE online program, you will learn how to create spreadsheets to sort, display and organize your information, including: understanding cell basics, simple formulas, formatting, creating charts from data, using tables in spreadsheets, working with multiple worksheets, printing, sharing and securing your information.

Studying for the G1 Licence TestTake the 1st step! Prepare for your G1 test. Learn how to:

  • Find information in The Driver’s Handbook
  • Remember important details
  • Understand & answer multiple-choice question
  • Take practice tests

Our office is currently closed but we are available for your learning or referral needs by phone, text, email, mail or virtual meetings. We are currently providing registration and assessment services via video chat or phone. You can reach our

Sharbot Lake site at 613-279-2499 and, or our Northbrook site at 613-336-0691 and