Bridge the Digital Divide with Community Tech Network!
In this week’s blog, Joshua Chan, volunteer coordinator at Community Tech Network (CTN), demonstrates his gratitude for USF student volunteers and their commitment to building meaningful connections with the seniors they train. Keep reading to learn more about the variety of technology projects and contributions from our students at CTN.
At Community Tech Network, our goal is to bridge the digital divide through technology access and training for lower-income seniors. As essential services like communication, telehealth, and more move increasingly online, seniors without basic tech knowledge often get left out of society, especially along racial and socioeconomic lines, and even more so during the COVID-19 pandemic. USF’s Community Engaged Learning (CEL) students are an integral part of our programs, providing technology training for lower-income seniors in San Francisco to connect them with these essential services.
USF students built community in-person and online, building meaningful connections with seniors through in-person and online placements. Whether they’re helping seniors learn more about vegan dieting through YouTube or learning their life stories over technology lessons, USF students made their mark on the places and people they served. Whether they served with deep empathy at Curry Senior Center, became “part of the fabric” of Downtown Senior Center, or fostered relationships online, USF students served senior learners with dignity and patience.
“Working with this organization is a wonderful experience! I hope other USF students like myself will feel compelled to contribute to its mission as I do.”— Dharma Stuart, community-engaged learner
They also built meaningful, evergreen resources to help seniors learn new tools. Students created and hosted instructional webinars for WhatsApp and Instagram helping seniors connect with their loved ones and interests even further. They built these webinars specifically with seniors in mind, going over common use cases for each app and creating detailed, easy-to-follow instructions for tools we often take for granted.
Student involvement helped us better serve diverse populations. They bridged language gaps in Spanish, Cantonese, and Vietnamese, allowing us to broaden our reach to new partner senior centers, and strengthen our services at existing centers in historically underserved communities such as the Mission and Tenderloin districts.
I cannot thank all of our wonderful USF students and faculty partners enough for their contributions to our program, including Keith Hunter and Zehlia Wilhite for their Power and Influence and Multilingual Engagement classes. CTN’s volunteer programs are thoroughly enriched by your involvement, and I am humbled by your patience, empathy, and breadth of your service. I’ll leave you with a quote from student Dharma Stuart.
“Working with this organization is a wonderful experience! I hope other USF students like myself will feel compelled to contribute to its mission as I do.”
If you feel compelled to contribute, please apply to become a volunteer! We’d love to have you.
Learn more about our Community Engaged Learning here.