Carp website a COVID-19 resource

CARP – Technology has been a key component in the life of Carp’s Richard Longworth. It has provided him with a career, a subject to write about, a subject to teach about, and in retirement, a hobby that has only grown in importance since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold some nine weeks ago.

For 40 years Longworth forged a career as a systems analyst and university professor at Capilano University (known as Capilano College during his time there) teaching math and information technology. One of the courses he taught, system analysis and implementation, was specifically designed to help businesses apply new technologies effectively.

Longworth retired in 2007. When Longworth retired, he and his wife Glenda moved to Carp where they’ve lived for the last 10 years after 32 years in Vancouver. They moved to Carp to be closer to their daughter Lynlea Lange who, at the time, worked and lived in the Boston area with her family.

After retirement Longworth put pen to paper publishing three books Reflections on Life Issues, Turning the Self Inside Out, and Harnessing the Internet into a Knowledge Framework – all three related to technology and trends in the industry. Meanwhile Longworth has been busy as an online course designer including creating two Udemy online courses: Turning the Self Inside Out and A Practical Approach to Database Design and Access SQL.

If that doesn’t keep him busy enough, Longworth volunteers his time building websites for non-profit organizations. Two such local websites include St. Paul’s United Church website and the Seniors Helping Seniors website.

It sounds pretty time consuming.

“Maybe you should ask my wife,” Longworth told West Carleton Online today (May 13) when asked how much time he spends on these projects. “I think I spend two or three hours on it in the morning. My wife says I spend all day on it. It’s a hobby. I love technology. I enjoy technology.”

When the pandemic arrived, Longworth wanted to do what he could to provide support for a community that found itself isolated and spending a lot of time indoors.

Longworth had previously built the site, a site based on his book and online course Turning the Self Inside Out. When the state of emergency was declared in mid-March he altered the site, changing the homepage title to Acts of Kindness during COVID-19.

“When COVID-19 arrived, I wanted to change the site to reflect the sign of the times,” Longworth said. “I asked myself how can this help West Carleton and serve the community? I do have the technology. I believe in social good. Why can’t I use this website for some social benefit?”

So, the website became a one-stop source for 1,000s of resources and activities, events and pastimes.

“You will find hundreds of creative activities in 11 categories to engage and alleviate the impact of COVID-19,” Longworth said. “As each day unfolds may you find something interesting and stimulating to do. I hope this helps you get through the days ahead.”

The 11 categories include virtual tours; a kids’ zone; youth and college students; gardens; field trips; learning; museums; nature; health and physical exercise; spirituality and meditation; tours; and concerts and live performances.

Longworth updates the site every Monday, but occasionally throughout the week as well. He documents each update by date, so visitors don’t miss a thing.

“I thought there was a definite need out there and that need was how are we going to cope while we are housebound?” Longworth said. “The nice thing is a single click takes you to the resource. There’s a wealth of information there. Thousands of links, thousands of free courses and a ton of resources. No matter who you are and how you are shut in, you will find something of interest.”

Longworth consults community members such as Coun. Eli El-Chantiry and the Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre’s Heidi Wieler for advice on what kind or resources to provide and his network built over his career often provides unsolicited advice.

“I get over 100 emails a day,” he said. “There’s lots of good stuff out there, all designed to help. I ask myself is this something kind and helpful and useful.”

In the last two months, Longworth’s site has had just more than 15,000 pageviews, and those views are from all over Canada and all over the world. In fact, Canada only ranks eighth on the list of countries with the most visits. Russia ranks first and Sweden, France, the United Kingdom and the United States all rank above Canada.

“I wanted to help,” Longworth said. “It might be frivolous, but I think in some way I am helping. When I was working, and there was a business problem, I would use technology to solve the problem. I find it intriguing.”

To visit Longworth’s site, click here.