Let’s address this first, to avoid any confusion (possibly more for the author that the reader): This learner spotlight focuses on Maria Bajarano, originally from Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico. She has lived in the Bay Area since 1967, was married here in California, and has loved being a mother and a housewife. Her choir teacher Maria Rodriguez first told her about CTN’s Home Connect program and encouraged her to apply. Maria Vasquez is a bilingual digital literacy instructor on staff at CTN staff who helped Maria B. with the first five introductory and familiarization sessions. Got all that?
Maria B. had never used a tablet or computer before being accepted into Home Connect — just her cellphone, and that use was limited to text messaging or answering and placing phone calls. After the initial training sessions, she now uses YouTube and Zoom and is getting much better at managing the tablet keyboard. She takes exercise classes and participates in various choir activities using Zoom. She loves to watch classic movies and listen to music using YouTube. Knowing how to use her tablet makes her feel more secure and independent. She is immensely proud that she can enter Zoom classes by herself and is no longer afraid of making mistakes. She also doesn’t feel as lonely when her husband has to travel to Mexico for family matters and she is on her own.
Maria B. was pleased with Maria V. as her instructor. “Maria always was very patient with me, which helped to build my confidence. She really knows how to work with us older adults, as she was always saying positive things to me. Her encouragement kept me motivated to continue learning. My self-esteem kept building while taking the classes,” says Maria B. She is grateful to her instructor and thankful for this opportunity and the gift of her tablet. Although she wants to continue to learn, she does not yet have a volunteer digital coach assigned to her but hopes this will happen soon.
CTN is actively recruiting volunteers to become digital coaches with a priority focus on both Spanish and Chinese speakers. We would love to hear from you, even (or especially!) if your name is Maria.