Transforming lives through digital literacy.


Photo: Maria Vazquez and Manolo visiting about his training experiences.  

An active member of the Mission Neighborhood Senior Center, Manolo Sandoval was unaccustomed to being socially isolated when the pandemic hit. After retiring in 2002, he remains active and has stayed involved in his community for all the 18 years he has lived in San Francisco. Born in Mexico City, Manolo worked as an aviation mechanic and later as an executive with PEMEX, Mexico’s state-owned petroleum company.

Manolo learned about CTN’s Home Connect program from Maria Campos at the Senior Center. She contacted him, asking if he would be interested in getting a new tablet and training in how to use it and the internet. He eagerly applied and was accepted right away. Although Manolo’s computer experience was limited, he was familiar with a keyboard since he relied on an electric typewriter for his job. In fact, using the tablet’s on-screen keyboard would become one of the biggest adjustments he would need to make during training. 

Staff trainer Carlos Sivira introduced Manolo to his tablet and how to use it. Then they progressed to Gmail, YouTube, and other support apps. His new digital coach volunteer, Mariluz, is helping him learn additional apps that interest him, including Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. He is also exploring with Google Maps, which can lead to all sorts of virtual adventures — especially when you’re socially isolated.  

Manolo is mastering downloading pictures from Facebook and is experimenting with all that his Gmail account offers. “I am grateful for the tablet. It is much easier to see than my cellphone screen and does so much more. Although I have loved working with Carlos and Mariluz, I am looking forward to becoming more confident so I don’t have to ask my digital coach for help. The less I have to rely on someone else, the happier I am,” says Manolo. “As long as we keep learning, we have plenty to discover and will continue to grow in knowledge and wisdom. Thank you for making this possible for me.”

Learner Spotlight: Manolo Sandoval

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Carlos Sivira