Seniors are learning new skills at Sacred Heart parish in Lake George: The parish is offering a free computer basic training class.

After finding out through a survey that there was a need for basic computer skills in the senior community, parishioner Paul Manning volunteered to lead the group.

There are about eight students in the class; most bring their own laptops to the Thursday gatherings, though others are in the market for a computer.

As a computer programming analyst, Mr. Manning has developed a training process that worked for a large group of people. He is now using his experience to help his parish and community.

"In today's society, once the kids mature and finish college, they go where the jobs are," Mr. Manning explained. "I have one son in Seattle. My daughter is in Colorado Springs. We can't always travel to see our grandchildren, so we connect on Skype or Facetime. For the older generation, they don't have access to that" if they aren't computer-savvy.

Along with the two video-chatting resources, Mr. Manning is teaching his students at Sacred Heart how to use the internet, access email, organize their contacts and master other simple computer tasks.

"We are trying to give them an overview of the basic computer," the teacher told The Evangelist.

He noted that it's important to learn each individual's goal for attaining computer skills, whether that is to email their children or to surf the net: "We have people who have no computer skills at all and some people who have keyboarding techniques."

Parishioner Frank Buehler is attending the classes because he often forgets what he previously learned when he's using his computer. The goal for Mr. Manning is to help Mr. Buehler take notes on the applications he needs -- all while setting up a new computer for Mr. Buehler, as well.

"They are going to help me simplify my efforts," said Mr. Buehler, who primarily uses the computer to store and view pictures, and to maintain a list of contact information for people he knows.

As a senior citizen himself, Mr. Manning believes that it is important for older people to learn how to use computer technology, even if it's intimidating.

(For more information, contact Sacred Heart at 518-668-2046.)