City of Wauwatosa Health Department

The City of Wauwatosa Health Department recognizes the critical importance of social connection by including it as a priority area within both the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) and the City’s AARP Age-Friendly Action Plan. Some of the initiatives we have undertaken include:

Tosa Tech Time is a collaboration with the Wauwatosa Health Department, Wauwatosa Library, local high school and universities, and community volunteers. Tosa Tech Time brings students and older adults together in the City’s Library to help bridge the digital divide, while forming valuable intergenerational relationships. Participants in the program bring their personal devices and any questions they have about how to use them. Student and community volunteers meet with participants one on one to help answer questions and become more familiar with their devices. And while the tech help is really wonderful, what stands out most is the genuine kindness shown to one another, and the intergenerational connections that have developed.

Wonder Wednesdays is a collaboration with the Wauwatosa Health Department, Wauwatosa Library, local middle school students, City Staff, and community volunteers. The Library identified that middle school students get out of school early each Wednesday and many have nowhere to go, so they congregate in the City’s library. Librarians identified this group as one that may be at risk of food insecurity and with potential to be disruptive in City Hall. The Health Department saw this as an opportunity for middle school kids to interact with adults with whom they can build trusting relationships by planning drop in activities each Wednesday afternoon. Some examples of activities provided include making origami, tote bag painting, ornament making, playing cards, and making friendship bracelets.

Senior Planet – Older Adults Technology Services (OATS)- In early 2024 the Health Department received the Senior Planet curriculum grant. This means that we are granted access to a proprietary technology curriculum which is proven to be effective in teaching older adults the skills to safely and effectively interact with the digital world. Staff and volunteers have been trained to facilitate weekly classes which will be held at the Library and will be offered free of charge. In addition to advancing digital equity, this opportunity will allow for participants to connect with other participants in person, as well as with friends and loved ones who may be far away using the skills they learn. The first Senior Planet course was offered on May 7th and this month alone we have served 77 older adults in our weekly classes.