Parks Place now offers virtual meeting lab

Parks Place Executive Director Megan Applegate and Office Manager Julie Cermola at the organization's new computer lab. Photo provided
Parks Place Executive Director Megan Applegate and Office Manager Julie Cermola at the organization’s new computer lab. Photo provided

BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. – Parks Place, a community resource center concentrating on health and human services in the Greater Falls area, is now offering a Virtual Meeting Lab to the local community. The lab will play an important role as part of their mission to help connect community members with the various resources they need.

Mascoma Bank generously provided Parks Place with a $2,500 grant to create the lab, a positive response to a growing need for providing people with the capable technology and consistent access to the internet they need in order to tap into these necessary services.

“Since the pandemic began, many people in our community who are required to attend virtual meetings for access to resources, face barriers such as not having access to a computer or dependable Wi-Fi,” Parks Place Executive Director, Megan Applegate, said in a recent interview.

“And from what we hear from our providers, virtual meetings aren’t going away anytime soon, and in fact, many agencies are now requiring providers to have ‘face to face’ virtual meetings for services to continue – therefore, think Zoom meetings instead of voice calls.”

After reaching out to some other local agencies who also face these new requirements and possible barriers that affect the people they serve, Parks Place decided to be proactive and pursue the grant through Mascoma Bank to create a lab space to assist with these virtual meetings.

“We are happy that our Virtual Meeting Lab is now set up in our building and is available to reserve for virtual meetings,” Megan added. “We’ve set up Zoom and Microsoft Team accounts, have headsets and webcams, offer log-in support to get people settled and ready for whatever meetings they have, and to help them fulfill requirements set in place for these meetings.”

The new computer lab is now officially open to the public and off to a promising start. “In just the first few days, a community member facing homelessness utilized our computer lab for a job interview. They returned the next week to tell us they had been offered a full-time job. This type of interaction illustrates exactly why we felt that this project is so important.”

Additionally, two computers are also set up for public use and can be reserved to check email, to print forms and applications, and much more. For more information or to reserve computer time, please call Parks Place at 802-463-9927.

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