Transforming lives through digital literacy.


Alice (not her real name, per her request) has devoted her life to helping others in a variety of settings. These include employment with the Office of Domestic Violence, supporting homeless veterans through Hope House, and, most recently, as a volunteer for an anti–human trafficking organization.

In early 2020, Alice’s life was turned upside down when she experienced a serious health crisis, leaving her homebound and dependent on others for assistance. A few weeks later, the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting stay-at-home requirements further restricted her activities and interactions.

Alice’s home health care worker assigned by the Native American Health Care Center suggested that Alice get a computer to keep her occupied and connected. Alice did have some prior computer training, if the IBM punch card classes she took back in 1976 at Chabot Junior College still counted. In recent years, she would drop by the senior center when a volunteer was available to answer her technology questions.

The home health worker made a referral to CTN, and Alice was soon accepted into the Home Connect program. Staff trainer Carlos provided her with a new tablet and some “good groundwork” and refresher training. Now her digital coach, Amy, is helping her with an app that allows Alice to create printable decorative artwork, which she intends to use to decorate the senior living center.

Alice shared the following with CTN: “At first, I was uncomfortable with my new tablet, but I understood it was OK to make mistakes as long as you learned from them. I realized it is important to problem-solve systematically if you get stuck, and I use the process of elimination to get to where I want to go. I call my tablet my “Little Buddy.” Alice and her Little Buddy also access her physical therapy sessions twice a week using Zoom.

We at Community Tech Network appreciate all that Alice has done for others in her lifetime and are pleased that we have been able to be there when she needed a little help. We know Alice will return to helping others as soon as the pandemic eases, and we wish her all the best.

Learner Spotlight: Alice

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Carlos Sivira