Transforming lives through digital literacy.

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A native of Ecuador, Maria Del Rocio Vacas has spent her life caring for those around her. She has worked as a nurse, looked after her sick mother, and cared for her husband when he contracted Parkinson’s disease. After her husband passed away seven years ago, Maria knew it was time to take care of her own needs.

While taking English and citizenship classes to become a U.S. citizen, Maria discovered SF’s Centro Latino program. In “normal” times, Centro Latino offers programming to Spanish-speaking older adults and people with disabilities. Unfortunately, when the pandemic halted in-person classes, Maria could no longer participate.

When Maria was referred to CTN’s Home Connect program, she was initially unsure if it was right for her. She had never used a tablet or computer before. The idea of technology was intimidating and unfamiliar. Her confidence was renewed when she learned that the program would provide both the device and training on how to use it. Maria applied for the program and can now navigate the internet comfortably and safely!

Maria’s digital coach, Carlos Sivira, taught her how to use Gmail, Zoom, YouTube, and other popular apps. She also learned how to use the tablet to continue her English citizenship classes via Zoom. Maria is grateful that Carlos was so encouraging, patient, and available to answer any questions about her tablet.

The Home Connect program has allowed Maria to continue to connect with the outside world and keep learning. She is especially grateful for the YouTube app and uses it to watch videos that teach English as a second language. In the past, Maria felt she wasted her time watching TV for hours. Now, Maria feels productive and refreshed when she spends time on the internet!

Want to help more older adults get connected? Consider donating today!

Learner Spotlight: Maria Del Rocio Vacas

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Maria Vazquez
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