The Thunder Bay Inn in Big Bay will offer Internet courses

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BIG BAY, Mich. (WLUC) — A project in the Big Bay area could help seniors with little internet literacy.

The Thunder Bay Inn is in the process of creating an Internet-based education facility. A section of the hostel will serve as a computer cafe where seniors will receive free internet and social media training.

Hostel co-owner Sue Bevins said internet access was an important need for many in the community.

“We have fiber optics to Big Bay, but it’s very expensive to hook it up to your house, so I can see it might not be cost effective for a family with limited means to be able to do it,” said Sue Bevins.

The hostel was able to start the project after receiving $49,000 from Marquette County’s US bailout funds. Students from the NMU School of Business are also involved in the project, they will teach seniors in free sessions.

“A lot of times the older people mentor the younger ones, but this is an opportunity for some young people to give back and mentor our older generation,” Sue Bevins said.

Co-owner Mark Bevins explained what subjects will be taught to seniors.

“One is ascension, which is making medical appointments, because pretty soon it’s all going to be digital, paying bills online and zooming in so they can engage with their families overseas,” Mark said.

However, to complete the project, a lot of work needs to be done.

“We have to order tables, look at the floor, set up disabled access from outside to this area, a lot of preparatory work has to take place,” Sue said.

Mark said that due to the historic nature of the building, it will bring more interest to the project.

“It will inspire people to be here because it’s cool and they’ll learn in the process,” Mark said.

The project will be completed in September this year.

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