Community Tech Network is, above all, a community. It is a web of people — each with their own unique skills and perspectives — making a collaborative effort to transform lives. Our mission could not be fulfilled without a passionate network of staff members, volunteers, and learners.
While many organizations had to freeze hiring during the pandemic, the increased need for digital literacy led to the expansion of our small but mighty team. Unable to conduct group training classes in person, we brought on six digital literacy trainers to remotely meet with learners one-on-one. These patient and flexible trainers include Valerie Robateau, Queenie Gaviola, Patrick Qiu, Zainab Ghwari, Nyarie Zhou, and Emma Reeder. Each of our team members plays a unique role in making our work happen. We are grateful to have more people involved today than we had a year ago, and we look forward to continuing to grow in the years ahead!
This year also sparked an expansion of our volunteer network. Volunteers are the real secret sauce for CTN. They are the direct connection to our learners — serving as digital coaches, helpful problem-solvers, and virtual companions to isolated seniors. As our programming “went remote,” volunteers could begin to meet with their learners anywhere with a Wi-Fi connection. For the first time, CTN was able to expand our network beyond San Francisco and Austin. This year, we have volunteers in nine states across the country!
Our community would be incomplete without the motivation for our work: our learners! This year, many older adults were isolated, unable to participate in in-person programming, and cut off from their usual social interactions. Accessing and understanding technology would be crucial to maintaining connections. At the same time, the decision to start digital skills training is not an easy one. Setting out to learn a completely new task can make older learners feel vulnerable and intimidated. It takes curiosity, patience, and determination to get started — and we celebrate our many learners who took a leap of faith to begin their digital training with us this year.
Over the years, we have had the opportunity to work with some incredible people. As we continue to evolve and expand, the importance of community will remain at our core. We are always looking for passionate individuals to join us in our mission — volunteer today!