Photo: Mission Neighborhood Centers provides weekly music sessions via Zoom.
Mission Neighborhood Centers, a valued CTN partner, is a bountiful referral source for potential Home Connect learners. Since the pandemic began, they have referred 25 older adults for training. Mission Neighborhood Centers serves over 3,000 low-income seniors, youth, and families with young children at 11 sites throughout San Francisco. Their legacy of providing a continuum of educational programs and social services to community populations most in need extends over 100 years.
Prior to the pandemic, CTN provided digital training at Mission’s Capp Street computer lab. Aurora Alvarado, Healthy Aging & Disability Programs Manager at the Capp Street location, spoke to us about the computer lab training. “Clients would come to a training, become excited about learning a new skill, then experience frustration as they went home to no device and no internet. Their new skills quickly deteriorated since they could not practice. While fewer of our clients now have access to CTN’s Home Connect program, those participating are thankful to receive a device of their own. They eagerly look forward to each training session and can employ their skills immediately while becoming proficient more quickly.”
Mission Neighborhood Centers currently offers diverse programming through Zoom. These sessions include cooking, Latin dance, yoga, music, painting, Zumba, and intergenerational programming. They also offer timely group therapy sessions led by a psychologist to address isolation and depression issues exacerbated by the pandemic. This is a critical and essential service during these trying times. This prime example demonstrates the importance of digital literacy training coupled with home internet access for our most vulnerable populations.
Aurora also shared with CTN how Home Connect participants have used their new digital devices: to communicate with families and friends in other countries, interact with their doctor using telemedicine apps, and access news, information, and community services and resources. She adds, “CTN is so easy to work with. They communicate in a timely manner and are always very responsive. All of the staff and volunteer trainers are very personable, and our clients enjoy working with them.”