PALMER — Top Floor Learning Inc. celebrated its 20th anniversary and commemorated the milestone with an open house on April 30 as well as celebrating its biggest fundraiser of the year — its May Basket Raffle that kicked off on May 1.

All the proceeds from the raffle benefit learners in the programs that take place on the third floor of the Palmer Public Library on 1455 N. Main St. — reading, writing, math, high school equivalency preparation, English language learners, citizenship preparation, computer and technology tutoring. Director of Adult Education Donna Kimball said, “Our mission at Top Floor Learning has been making people more willing to learn something new and being able to figure it out so they can help others.”

Top Floor Learning is a nonprofit organization dedicated to help adult learners achieve their educational goals offering computer tutoring, HiSet Preparation, English Language Learning and citizenship. It’s all one-on-one tutoring. For high school equivalency, Kimball assesses people, see what they need to work on and finds them a tutor.

“Top Floor is unique as in the fact that all our tutors are volunteers, are willing to do their best for their students, and that we have one on one tutoring,” Kimball added. The program started out as the Quaboag Literacy Tutors in the 70s in the old Palmer Library. When the library was expanded and remodeled, they came there as Top Floor Learning on the third floor of the library in 2004. Since then, Top Floor has provided a wide range of adult literacy programs and lifelong learning courses, workshops and computer classes to the residents of the Quaboag Hills region and surrounding areas.

The newer programs Top Floor have are computer literacy classes. Kimball and her son, Alex, who is the tech tutor, took training through Senior Planet OATS — Older Adults Technology Services — via AARP to do classes specifically for seniors on computer technology. Kimball told Reminder Publishing they’ve done a few classes with that; learning how to use Google Suite and how to use My Chart for their health information as well as basic one-on-one how to use their smartphone, tablet or PC.

“When we reopened after COVID, that seem to be the major demand,” said Kimball. “People wanted more information on how to use their electronic devices.” She went on to say, “We had people coming in saying teach my mother how to use this computer before I throw her out the window,”They were trying to teach their family members how to work a used computer with technology they weren’t familiar with and it’s a lot easier with a third person doing it.”

Top Floor Learning will be offering a few more of the Senior Planet classes specifically for seniors pretty soon. Kimball’s goal is to let folks know they’re here and help as many people as she can.

“The most rewarding aspect of my job is to see folks come in struggling (with language, getting a new job, technology) and leave with the ability to better tackle and understand their challenges,” Kimball said. “As well, seeing how much my tutors enjoy working and helping folks with what they need.”

Top Floor Learning has 43 baskets for the fundraising raffle ranging from tickets to the Thunderbirds, a string trimmer and spa & cleaning day. The baskets will be on display in the main part of the library for the month of May. Tickets are $5 each and 5 tickets for $20. You can also download tickets at topfloorlearning.org. The drawing will be on Monday, June 3. To learn more, call at 413-283-2329 or email info@topfloorlearning.org.

Miasha Lee
+ posts