For over a hundred years, Compass Family Services has served the San Francisco community by helping homeless and at-risk families become stably housed, emotionally and physically healthy, and economically self-sufficient.
Since 2015, Compass has been an anchor partner of Twitter’s Neighbornest, a computer lab in the Tenderloin that provides services to low-income and homeless families and youth. Over the years, CTN has offered digital literacy lessons to Compass clients with limited or no internet access.
Having basic digital skills is essential to finding a job or housing, doing well in school, taking a GED test, communicating with healthcare and social service providers, finding critical health information, locating needed services, and reducing isolation. While the pandemic has halted in-person services at the lab, CTN continues to support Compass clients through virtual group classes in English and Spanish.
We are currently working with two groups, divided by English and Spanish speakers. In July, we had 10 Spanish-speaking learners and six English-speaking learners complete and graduate from the program. These groups were a mix of intermediate and beginner learners, and we were impressed by how quickly they grasped new concepts.
Using our Chromebook curriculum, we covered computer basics, including adjusting settings, changing language, emailing, searching Google, and staying safe online. We also covered more advanced topics like phishing scams, Facebook privacy and activity settings, and media literacy. At the end of the course, we focused on digital parenting — discussing how technology impacts family life, how to be a digital role model for children, and how to set parental controls and enforce screen time limits.
Throughout the program, CTN received consistent support from Compass staff. Each class seemed to go by in a flash, and we are excited to continue working with new learners on their digital education!