One Atlanta-area senior living community will receive the gift of technology this Valentine’s Day, thanks to the charitable foundation founded by hometown rapper Future and his family.
The FreeWishes Foundation, which is presided over by Future’s mother, Stephanie Jester, is turning an underused library space at Big Bethel Village, a retirement community in Southwest Atlanta with about 120 residents, into a digital hub and computer lab.
Although seniors do still have lower rates of digital technology adoption than other age brackets, the statistics continue to shift. Between 2013 and 2017, smartphone adoption by seniors more than doubled. Internet and social media adoption continue to climb.
However, there is still a notable digital divide between younger and older populations. This is despite the consistent research that shows seniors stand to benefit highly from technology in areas like financial planning, personal health, communicating with family, and even potentially slowing the brain’s aging process.
“Although we live in an age of massive technological advancements, the gap in digital literacy continues to expand because many seniors simply aren’t comfortable using technology,” Jester and Tia Wilburn-Anderson, Future’s sister and a Foundation spokesperson, tell Hypepotamus in an email interview.
“This divide puts seniors at a significant disadvantage in many areas. Seniors are truly the gatekeepers of our community and we understand the importance of not leaving that demographic behind.” Jester and Wilburn-Anderson say that senior digital literacy will be an ongoing initiative of the FreeWishes Foundation.
The library at Big Bethel Village will be outfitted with desktop computers, wifi, a copy and fax machine, and a printing station. The Foundation will also lead free computer skills workshops for the members of the community.
Future (Nayvadius DeMun Wilburn) and his family are Atlanta natives. They established the FreeWishes Foundation over six years ago to “enhance the lives of youth and senior citizens in the Atlanta metro area,” according to Jester.
“We aim to develop impactful programs, curate community events, and influence a network of people to create opportunities for growth and development,” she says. The Foundation’s board assesses local needs on a quarterly basis to determine the direction of the organization’s projects.
Additional projects that have come out of the FreeWishes Foundation include a holiday gift giveaway for kids, dinners with the Atlanta Mission, and “Atlanta Senior Day” (a partnership with community group PlayHrd TrainHrd(, which gathered over 800 seniors and community members at Mercedes-Benz Stadium to learn about health, fitness, and wellness.
The computer lab reveal, which the Foundation has dubbed “A Gift of Love”, will take place this Wednesday, the day before Valentine’s Day. Community leaders and corporate partners will join the Foundation team for a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Photos by Drea Nicole Photography and I Am Hall of Fame