Charles Hale speaks from firsthand experience when he says, “Society revolves around computers nowadays.”
Charles was incarcerated for 48 years. When he was released from prison last year, he discovered that the world he had known was no more: everything was now digital.
“I felt like a Neanderthal when I got out. I honestly didn’t even know how to turn a phone on and off,” he says. “I decided to enroll in the program because I was so out of touch with technology.”
He continues: “Before learning with Community Tech Network, I couldn’t use a touchscreen. When I went to places like grocery stores and even the DMV, I had to ask for help [to fill out forms and pay at self-checkouts]. People looked at me like they didn’t know what planet I was from. Knowing at least the basics of technology is necessary to function now in society.”
Charles first heard about CTN through San Francisco’s Downtown Senior Center. In his classes, he says he learned “to take pictures, send messages and emojis, email, and use Google to find all sorts of useful information.”
While Charles was starting with zero knowledge of technology, he says his instructor was incredibly patient. “She grabbed me by the hand and led me. She was sort of like my navigator.”
Charles earned a tablet after completing his courses with CTN, but he currently does not have consistent access to Wi-Fi. He visits places like McDonald’s, Starbucks, the public library, and his senior center when he wants to go online.
CTN is proud to help people like Charles and believes that internet access is a human right that should be available to all.