One of CTN’s very first activities was to organize monthly events. In 2008, using the Meetup platform, we brought people together to discuss different topics and meet each other. We gathered at Goodwill to talk about computer refurbishing, at the Sunset Neighborhood Beacon Center to talk about their youth program, at St. Anthony Foundation’s Tenderloin Tech Lab to talk about their computer training program, and more.
After a two-year hiatus from offering these events, we reintroduced the concept as Brag & Borrow, where attendees get to share what their organizations are doing (brag) and ask the group for help with current challenges (borrow). This event currently happens on the third Thursday of each month in San Francisco, and notes from past events can be found here.
Here’s a quote from a program participant:
Attending these meetings has helped me connect my clients with digital literacy/access programs that already exist in the community by increasing my awareness and familiarity with these organizations and facilitating face-to-face connections with representatives of these organizations. It has been much more effective to refer clients to programs (i.e., Digital Drop-in or computing classes at the Bridge at Main, or the Smart Phone Training program at the Women’s Building) having a specific point of contact to direct clients to. As well, having physically toured the program locations myself, I have been much better equipped to anticipate what support a client might need in accessing the program.
We’ve organized larger events such as Digital Opportunities: Is Access a Game Changer?, a panel event featuring Craig Newmark, founder of the website Craigslist, as well as The State of Digital Inclusion: A Community Tech Talk with Karen Archer Perry. Most recently, we began organizing the Digital Leaders Awards, which recognize people and organizations in San Francisco that are leading the way to closing the digital divide. Pictured here are some of the winners from last year. The next event is happening on May 9 at Twitter HQ. We hope to see you there!