On Wednesday, June 26, CTN celebrated its fourth annual Digital Leaders Awards ceremony at Twitter headquarters in San Francisco.
You can relive or experience the event by viewing DLA photos on the CTN Facebook page. All photos of the event were captured by Scott Buschman. You can also watch the moving video shown during the event, You Never Stop Learning.
Emcee and City Librarian Michael Lambert kicked off the event with inspiring words about the San Francisco community and the great work being done to close the digital divide. He then introduced our speaker, Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive. Kahle gave a compelling presentation about the need for accuracy in the presentation of digital material on Wikipedia. He described the Archive’s work with this digital pioneer in making sure that what you read is both live and factual.
We then had the pleasure of honoring the following people with awards.
Digital Champion — Katherine Eppler, Program Manager, The Bridge at Main
Kate Eppler is the program manager for San Francisco Public Library’s The Bridge at Main, a literacy and learning center with a focus on digital literacy and technology skill building. More than 2,000 people every year attend free classes and technology help sessions at the Bridge. Eppler coordinates San Francisco’s award-winning Connect with Tech Week, which brings together community partners from nonprofit, business, and government to produce a vibrant week of technology education events. She has developed and implemented technology classes at all levels, as well as maker programming, information literacy instruction, and other opportunities to help users better understand their world.
Digital Changemaker — Cordelia McGee-Tubb, CTN Volunteer
Cordelia has been a consistent aid to many CTN programs and continues to do wonderful work as a volunteer at Curry Senior Center’s Senior Vitality Program. Cordelia takes her role as a tutor far above and beyond what is required of her. On a weekly basis, Cordelia not only gives detailed input about her tutoring times with individual students, but asks questions and voices concerns about their learning. She vocalizes ideas for the program and suggestions for learners. She also improves the seniors’ interaction with their iPads with her background knowledge in accessibility features for technology (which the instructors and Curry staff admit they have little experience with). Cordelia even reaches out to her own community, sharing her experiences at Senior Vitality to increase awareness and in hopes of encouraging others to be future tutors.
Digital Inclusion in the Community — Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired incorporates digital skills throughout its training programs for those living with low vision or blindness. These programs are aimed at improving orientation, mobility, employment, and overall independent living skills. Lighthouse is also a leading expert in advising companies and developers in designing accessible technology.
Digital Bridge Builder — Monkeybrains
Monkeybrains and San Francisco Housing Development Corporation work together to provide free high-speed internet to residents in several of SFHDC’s affordable housing properties. Providing this type of internet access is a game changer for people living in poverty and is a model for other urban communities across the country. Monkeybrains has also worked with volunteers who have helped residents understand how to set up their wireless routers in order to connect to the internet.
Digital Amplifier — Metta Fund
Metta Fund is a new funder to this space. Realizing that social isolation affects health, the fund saw an opportunity to address this important problem through access to technology. They provided seed funds to Little Brother Friends of the Elderly to start the Tech Allies program in partnership with CTN. The program was funded in 2016, and since then, Little Brother Friends has been able to get over 75 seniors connected at home with a device, internet access, and training. They recently funded a CTN project to deliver a similar program, called Sunset Tech Connect, that will help monolingual Cantonese speakers access tablets and training.
Through ticket sales, sponsorships, silent auction items, and donations, we were able to raise over $12,500! These funds will help us continue to deliver digital access and literacy training throughout the Bay Area. The event would not have been possible without the generous support of the community and our sponsors: Twitter, Monkeybrains, Polsinelli, Zelle, AT&T, Beneficial State Bank, and Microsoft.