Soon after CTN started providing training in senior centers, we realized how difficult it was to find volunteers who were available during the day. So we decided to branch out and recruit high school students. With the support of a local family foundation, we were able to launch the Intergenerational Youth Crew in San Francisco in 2012 and have continued the program since as Ready, Set, Connect! in partnership with the Oakland Public Library.
The program has evolved into a great mix of leadership development, community development, and workforce readiness. Each year we recruit 20 young people who help roughly 1,000 people, mostly older adults, who struggle with using the computer, their tablets, and their smartphones. They also get professional development and site visits to local tech companies.
Here are quotes taken from a trainer-learner pair in 2014:
I tutored Cecil on how to set up a Gmail account for future use in her higher education. I had her practice sending and receiving emails. It felt good to help someone gain skills necessary for accomplishing an important goal like going back to school.
I needed to have an email account to get homework from my teacher. I had to learn how to use it and how to apply it to my education. I’m returning to school after 10 years, and everything is new. Orlando helped me through the whole process.
The program has proven to have a profound effect on its participants. Here’s a link to a video about Jennifer Rubio, a program participant in 2015 who says that the program did a good job of bridging the gap to a community that she wouldn’t have had access to otherwise.
We’re looking forward to continuing this program and always appreciate financial support from the local business and philanthropy community.