Written by Madison Lee
"Stoughton is great. It’s known for its amazing volunteers and people willing to help strangers,” said Stoughton Senior Center volunteer Joyce Tikalsky. I recently had the honor of sitting down with Joyce in town over coffee to learn more about why she enjoys serving her community. She’s too humble to admit this herself but she has quite an impressive resume. For several years before retiring Joyce worked in computers and technology, work that wasn’t very common for other women in her generation. In fact, she and other women she worked with can be considered the second wave of women “pioneers” in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). To put that in perspective, there is a huge push to get more girls to take an interest in STEM even today, and Joyce has been wearing that hat since the 1960’s.
Retiring and ending a career you love can be difficult. That’s where the Stoughton Area Senior Center comes in. Joyce finds herself surrounded by like minded individuals and is now able to teach her skills to seniors who want to continue their education. You don’t need any past experience to try out a new skill. Even if you know absolutely nothing about computers and technology, you might even be able to “school” your grandchildren after taking one of her classes. Maybe you’re considering a class but you aren’t sure you’ll be able to pick it up. Joyce says, “That’s the most gratifying part. People think it’s them, something lacking in them. Other people have told them they aren’t capable of picking up new technology. That is horrible. I work really hard to change their perspective and give them that confidence.” As far as advice on taking one of her classes, Joyce says, “Don’t try to consume it all at once. We’re all friendly. No matter how many years we’ve been doing this we are all still learning. Practice. Try to turn an unfamiliar technology on every day. Don’t feel pushed. And buy the same technology (computers, phones) your family uses.”
Joyce has been a resident of Stoughton for 34 years and a volunteer at the Stoughton Area Senior Center since 2016. Her classes teach a number of topics from social media, navigating smartphone apps, to smart phone 101 classes… and even more advanced classes like how to code. If you’re interested in signing up or want to learn more contact the Senior Center.