Grantee Spotlight: The Open Resource

The Open Resource just might be the best kept secret in Rush County. That’s unfortunate because they have so much to offer our community with the FREE services provided by their new digital navigator program.


Have you ever needed help setting up a new laptop? Or wanted to learn how to use Microsoft Office? Would you like to stay in touch with family and friends digitally but don’t have a device? The Open Resource can help with these challenges and many more.


The organization started as The Open Book, selling books and promoting literacy in the traditional sense of the word. They have since reorganized as a nonprofit under the name of The Open Resource. You can still find books at their downtown Rushville location at 103 N. Main Street. Now everything is free to patrons, but cash donations are welcome. And they have expanded their definition of literacy to include an emphasis on digital inclusion.



Simply put, digital inclusion is the activities needed to make sure EVERYONE has access to digital communication – such as the Internet, email, chat, video conferencing, etc.

The five elements of digital inclusion are:

  • affordable, robust broadband Internet service;
  • Internet-enabled devices that meet the needs of the user (such as desktops, laptops, tablets and phones);
  • access to digital literacy training;
  • quality technical support; and
  • applications and online content designed to enable and encourage self-sufficiency, participation and collaboration (programs and apps: like browsers Chrome or Safari, Microsoft Office, Google Docs, Zoom, banking and telehealth apps; email and social media)


The pandemic has made us realize that Internet access is no longer a luxury. Our work, school, finances and healthcare rely on online communication and services. It has also shed light on the gap between those who can afford service and those who can’t, as well as the speed and reliability issues faced by many who live in rural areas.


Carole Yeend and Ron Shields are working to make sure that everyone in the county can get connected to the Internet and have the skills necessary to use it. They serve together on the Rush County Broadband Connect Task Force, whose mission is to “work with providers, community leaders, organizations, and residents to improve Internet access and digital literacy throughout Rush County”. In fact, under the leadership of Dr. Roberto Gallardo of the Purdue Center for Regional Development, Rush County became one of the first counties in Indiana to adopt a five-year digital inclusion plan in 2019.



Carole and Ron also both volunteer with The Open Resource, making it the perfect incubator for the public education piece of Broadband Connect’s mission. The Open Resource is available to help anyone with identifying affordable Internet access and providing both free devices and individualized training, through their newly established Digital Navigator Program. A grant received from RCCF this spring supports this program.


Technology is always changing. People will be left behind,” noted Carole. “We’re here to make sure that they’re not.”


The Digital Navigator program relies on Ron’s expertise and skills. He has been involved with technology since the 1960’s as a student at Purdue and also as a long-time trainer and educator in the field. “The first step is providing a tangible tool, the device, and then we can help people learn,” Ron shared. He is available for one-on-one training in-person, over the phone or through webinars. He has even met with local businesses to provide group training.


Dave and Barb Malson not only support the program but have utilized Ron’s services. “Rush County is so fortunate to have the computer/digital services that The Open Resource provides. Ron Shields is certainly a good teacher with his background and we are blessed to have him share that knowledge as he volunteers his time.  We hope Rush County citizens will utilize The Open Resource’s services.”







The Open Resource also offers free tutoring for students in K-12 on Wednesdays, 4-6pm. Their space is open to host groups for meetings or to offer workshops on all kinds of topics. On October 30, they begin a three-part series, “Creating Champagne Videos on a Kool-Aid Budget” in conjunction with the Rushville Public Library. Be sure to check out the schedule on their website for information on this and many other classes.


They are always looking for new groups to partner with and individual volunteers. Opportunities include working with patrons, serving as Digital Navigators and tutors, and helping with marketing.


If you or someone you know could benefit from these services or would like to volunteer, get in touch with The Open Resource at (765) 560-3337,, or stop by. It’s time to make sure everyone is connected to the world wide web and its vast possibilities.


Many thanks to RCCF’s generous donors for supporting this program, which ensures our community’s inclusion in the digital narrative!


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