For over 13 years, CTN’s mission has been to transform lives through digital literacy. We believe that access to the internet is a human right and that those without the skills to use a computer are at risk of social and economic disadvantage. The core of our work is connection — we connect tech-savvy volunteers with older adults who want to learn how to navigate the internet. As our volunteers help more people get active online, they become more connected and active in their communities.
When someone volunteers with CTN or a partner organization, we work hard to ensure they have a meaningful experience. Unlike volunteering to paint a building or clean up a park, volunteering as a digital coach encourages people to build sincere, lasting relationships. These one-on-one digital skills sessions often bring together people that would have never otherwise met.
A high percentage of our volunteers fall into the millennial or Gen Z age groups, making them significantly younger than their older adult learners. Sometimes our learners and volunteers come from vastly different cultural and social backgrounds as well. Initially, these differences seem like a challenge to overcome, but they often become the most rewarding aspect of the volunteer experience.
In a recent conversation with one of our longest-serving volunteers, Jared Boddum, he discusses the enduring impact of CTN’s volunteer program on his life. “As a volunteer with CTN, you’re able to quickly create these relationships of trust that are very unique in society. When else might I talk to an 82-year-old Thai woman or anyone with such a different background than mine? CTN creates a circumstance where you have this unexpected relationship that can be quite touching. You learn their stories. You build trust with them. You see how hard it is for them to do simple things on the computer, but that you can be that conduit of information for them.”
“Volunteering with CTN has helped me let go of my preconceptions about what a friend should look like. I’ve now made a lot of friends outside of CTN who are quite a bit older than me. The energy I’ve put into volunteering has helped me broaden my community at large. I don’t know what more you could ask for from a volunteer position.”
Do you have an hour to spare in your week? Check out our volunteer page to connect your community and build a lasting impact.