On May 18, we cheered on the youth participants of the fifth graduating class of Ready, Set, Connect! Gathering at the Main Library in Oakland, the youth gave their final presentations and received certificates and a completion bonus of refurbished MacBooks donated by Twitter. Photos of the event are on our Facebook page.
The program started with a few introductory words from Gerry Garzon, director of library services, Lana Adlawan, supervising librarian for teen services, and Andrea Guzman, RSC program manager. Then the student teams approached the podium and gave presentations covering their specific projects. They spoke on how the program has changed their lives and the lives of those in their communities and how the experience has been most fulfilling.
While most participants thought they’d be offering computer help while raising awareness of RSC, the graduates reflected on the importance of understanding the digital resources offered while discovering what they in turn had to offer themselves. Assistance with designing a resume led to one learner’s steady employment. Another was guided on how to successfully fill out a web-based application unavailable to those offline.
One team followed up their delight in discovering the digital resources the library had to offer by designing posters to advertise its digital literacy programs throughout the city. Another acted on patrons’ repeated questions about the mobile app WeChat by building an online tutorial as a resource that will still be in service long after their graduation.
While RSC supports the hard skills of coding and design, it also strives to engender an awareness in the students that was echoed as one of the graduates remarked, “If it wasn’t for this experience, I would never have learned the skills necessary for networking nor realized the importance of community outreach.”
We’re proud of the graduates! By applying technical and teaching skills learned in RSC, these students were given the opportunity to invest in their professional futures while serving to increase digital literacy in their own communities.
We’re already looking forward to meeting next year’s applicants. For more information, email RSC@ctnbayarea.org.