Photo: Sabrina assisting a group of older adult learners in the days before social distancing
As a senior program manager with CTN in San Francisco, Sabrina Tam has seen her role has change dramatically over the last two months. When she joined CTN 2 1/2 years ago, she was able to sit next to her students and guide them directly through the digital learning process. But during our transition to virtual training as a result of COVID-19, our training delivery had to evolve. Sabrina has helped lead the development and implementation of our new program, Home Connect, and is testing out how CTN can also offer tech assistance over the phone for older adults.
Born in Hong Kong, Sabrina recently shared how she spent a total of three hours (over the course of a day) assisting a Cantonese-speaking 73-year-old man with a tech question. He had participated in a CTN digital literacy program and received a tablet two years ago in a training funded by CPUC. He recently found himself no longer able to use WeChat, a popular messaging app in the Chinese community. He had Sabrina’s phone number from his original training and called her for help.
Most of the time was spent on guiding him to look for the app store and to download a screen-sharing app over the phone. The eventual solution took about 5 minutes once Sabrina could see his screen. It seems that WeChat had changed its security settings. The learner was happy and appreciative that he could again get in touch with his family and friends. This is a great example of why the Home Connect devices are preloaded with the screen-sharing software prior to their delivery to the learner!
Sabrina says, “It’s so rewarding to see the joy on a learner’s face when he/she learns something new and understands a new concept. Many older learners lack confidence in using technology, and they may think that they are too old to learn or that technology is just too difficult. As their teacher, I want my learners to know that with patience and practice, everyone can learn to use a computer.”
Sabrina’s work ethic, commitment, and dedication to those we serve is an inspiration to us all. Patience, sensitivity to their fears, and respect are but a few of the unique set of essential skills she demonstrates when working with older adults. Sabrina, thank you for all you do.
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