Transforming lives through digital literacy.


John Gambaccini got his start with his computer skills education back in 1997 when Glide Memorial offered a free course on basic computer applications. More than 30 years ago, a stroke left his right arm, his dominant arm, paralyzed. John says, “Following the stroke, I was thinking, ‘what are my options here?’ Having access to a computer and knowing how to use it was like getting my driving license — but better.”

John visits the Western Addition Senior Center’s computer lab to get online and follow up on email in a place where CTN trainers address learners’ questions as they arise. When speaking of becoming more computer savvy John states “You wouldn’t believe the freedom I felt — the handcuffs came off!” John started experiencing a new platform of expression — even travel. As he put it, “For me, a computer compresses distance: you can visit people without owning a car.” 

John, who is in his 60s, spoke about some of the aspects of being older and how his computer skills have improved his quality of life. “Seniors many times feel neglected; they feel overlooked. The mental and emotional exercise that comes from being able to get things done is wonderful. I have to have some kind of avenue to express myself. It keeps me from being slanted in one direction. It lets me look into something deeper. Ultimately I’d like to get my MBA and learn several languages and write more. A computer allows me to harness my thoughts and gives me more ability. I don’t have to have a lot of physical strength to write a book.”

Learner Spotlight: John Gambaccini

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Kami Griffiths