Donald Michida, a CTN volunteer trainer for over three years, was taking a break due to a very busy schedule. That all changed in early April when CTN executive director Kami Griffiths sent an email to all volunteers inviting them to participate as remote Home Connect trainers. Intrigued by the concept of engaging seniors remotely during the pandemic via phone and a screen-sharing app, Donald quickly accepted.
Donald, a San Francisco native and Golden Gate University graduate, followed in his father’s footsteps by majoring in Accounting. He now adds at least two additional items to his resume — he was selected for the Volunteer Digital Coach Task Force and was the first digital coach to be matched with an older adult Home Connect learner. “I know that older adults are the ones most at risk from COVID-19, and I want to be part of helping them learn to use a digital device while keeping them safe,” explains Donald.
CTN created Home Connect in response to COVID-19 restrictions. The first five remote training sessions are delivered by a staff member and focus on familiarization with the digital device, building basic computer skills, and helping learners build their confidence. The second phase, taught by a digital coach, focuses on Learning Pathways selected by the older adult learner.
Donald’s first Home Connect learner was David, who chose to pursue the learning pathway related to online ordering of prescriptions and other necessities from CVS as well as a telemedicine app so he could interact with his doctor. Donald says he and David were a good match as they shared similar interests as well as a common geography in San Francisco. Donald is looking forward to meeting David in person after COVID risks are reduced. After working with David, he is now working with Richard, another Home Connect learner.
We appreciate Donald’s willingness to take on new challenges as a CTN volunteer, and we know that both David and Richard appreciate his efforts even more!