As part of our work with the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, Community Tech Network recently offered its first device training at GLIDE Foundation. The training supported 10 monolingual Chinese-speaking learners, nine of whom had never previously used any type of computer. All of the learners graduated and received a free 11-inch Lenovo laptop.
Says GLIDE’s Tina Huang: “Since the pandemic, we haven’t been able to provide in-person services to groups. This training with CTN was the first time we had 10+ clients together in the same space since COVID. It was awesome to bring people together in person and allow them to connect. They have been isolated for so long.”
According to Tina: “A lot of the learners come from other countries and have never touched a computer or iPhone before, but thanks to CTN, technology has become a part of their lives now. It helps them stay in touch with their family and friends and has greatly improved their quality of life, both mentally and physically. CTN’s programs offer great opportunities for our community.”
She continues: “Some of the learners are in their 80s and 90s. They are role models for me! They are still so excited to learn, they love to learn. If a class starts at 10 a.m., they arrive early at 9:30. It’s motivating to see them. One learner was a mother whose daughter was living in Canada. The mother missed her daughter and was very anxious. But with CTN, she learned how to use WhatsApp and can now make video calls and even see her grandchild. She is so grateful and less worried about her daughter now. Another learner, who is almost 90 years old, told me that his grandchildren are so impressed with his new technology skills. They even ask him how to do certain things online. Imagine that! Grandkids asking their grandfather for technology advice! He’s really proud of himself.”
CTN’s Mel Ao offered the training at GLIDE and spoke with another learner, Mr. Sid, about the program’s impact on his life. “Mr. Sid shared with me that he and his wife are very grateful that CTN provided such a class for them to attend and learn. He says that the class offered a great starting point to have access to technology. He learned what Wi-Fi is, what Gmail is, and how to browse the internet. Most of all, he says that the computer that he received from CTN is a precious gift.”
This is not the first time CTN has worked with GLIDE, as GLIDE has referred hundreds of clients over the years to CTN’s remote Home Connect program. However, the in-person course was so successful that CTN and GLIDE will train another cohort in the upcoming months. CTN is also planning to host other in-person events at GLIDE, such as a tech support pop-up and an Affordable Connectivity Program enrollment workshop.
Tina says: “Our clients are really looking forward to participating in more CTN classes, particularly the in-person ones. We’ve told some of them they can be the first people to sign up! They’re so excited. Not only are they learning new technology skills, but by being in person, they feel like things are back to normal after the pandemic. They know that they are safe — we follow all state guidelines, including temperature checks, masks, and social distancing — and they feel like they’ve returned to normal community life.”
She concludes: “Working with CTN is a great experience. It is an honor to be partners with CTN and build community together.”