In 2012, CTN launched a new initiative to train youth in San Francisco to help older adults improve their digital skills. The following year, the program relocated to Oakland through a new partnership with the Oakland Public Library (OPL). We called it Ready, Set, Connect!, and the program recruited 20 youth to help their community members get online. Since that first session in 2013, we have had a total of six cohorts with the following statistics:
- More than 100 young people have graduated from Ready, Set, Connect! since it started in 2013.
- Since 2013, participants have tutored more than 6,000 patrons, clocking over 4,000 hours of time
- Participants have tutored patrons in multiple languages including Arabic, Amharic, Cantonese, English, Mam, Mandarin, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
Now, after six successful years, OPL has decided to continue Ready, Set, Connect! independently of CTN. This model of building capacity is something CTN hopes to continue with other partners as we expand our footprint beyond the Bay Area. We hope that by providing training and support, along with customized curriculum developed for new computer users, we will enable our partners to continue offering programs with little or no CTN involvement. This doesn’t apply to all of our partnerships, since many partners simply don’t have enough staff in-house or the internal capacity to sustain a volunteer program.
We wish OPL the best of luck as they continue to build youth leaders to conquer the digital divide in Oakland! I am thankful that the library agreed to partner and appreciate that we had this opportunity to learn and grow together. Follow the library’s progress as it launches the next cohort in September. Visit the Ready, Set, Connect page on the OPL site.