Valerie enjoyed her part-time job assisting hospital visitors at the information desk at CPMC’s Mission Bernal Campus. Then COVID-19 arrived, and her position was eliminated to help ensure employee and patient safety. Wishing to remain active and keep working, she turned to the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) available through the Felton Institute.
SCSEP offers online employment training and job preparation programs, but Valerie’s laptop was on its last legs. Aware that Community Tech Network’s Home Connect program provides a device to eligible candidates, SCSEP submitted her name and information to CTN. Since Valerie already had a home internet connection, she was accepted into the program and quickly enrolled in Home Connect. Her assigned staff trainer, Josie Boyle, delivered her new tablet.
Since Valerie had some computer and internet experience, she and Josie quickly progressed through the first five sessions. Diana, a CTN volunteer digital coach, was then matched to assist Valerie with her identified Learning Pathways training. These sessions have empowered Valerie to attend three weekly two-hour employment training sessions with SCSEP via Zoom, and three telemedicine visits with her medical providers. Although she is fortunate to live only two blocks from Safeway, her bad knees will not tolerate standing in the 20-minute checkout line. She now can order groceries online from Whole Foods and other items from Walmart and Amazon.
Born in Letterman General Hospital at the Presidio, Valerie loves San Francisco and says it is all about the people.
“Josie and Diana are great examples of the wonderful people who live here. They are both so personable and caring. After my training began, I was reminded how much I missed being around others. This experience with them has given me new hope about the people of San Francisco amidst all the ugliness with the virus and social issues playing out daily. Recently, I read a story on the internet about skin hunger, a physical and mental health condition caused by lack of human touch. I’m looking forward to the day when I can hug Diana to thank her for taking time out of her busy schedule to train me and doing so in a positive and uplifting manner.”
The number of Home Connect participants is updated weekly. Be sure to check back for moving stories of other Home Connect learners.