CTN is excited to start a new partnership with San Francisco–based nonprofit and advocacy group Calle 24. Calle 24’s mission is to advocate for the cultural continuity, vitality, and community of San Francisco’s Latino Cultural District and greater Mission neighborhood. Since 1999, Calle 24 has pursued this mission by highlighting cultural events and assets, fighting for affordable housing, supporting small businesses, promoting a high quality of life, and creating visibility for its community.
After hearing about our Home Connect program, Calle 24’s business liaison Gabriella Lozano got in contact with Stephen Minor, senior program manager at CTN. The hope was that Home Connect could equip older business owners to use digital skills and feel confident online. The past decade has made it clear that small business owners must have a foundational understanding of internet basics and device navigation to keep up with the digital age. Thus, Calle 24 was established as a referral source for our Home Connect program.
We have since had multiple Calle 24 learners start their Home Connect training sessions, conducted in English and Spanish. One learner, Leila, is especially grateful for the program and her digital coach’s patience in answering her tech questions. Together with her husband, Leila runs a bohemian-style cafe called Radio Habana. Modeled after a traditional Cuban social club, Radio Habana serves as a creative hub for local artists, poets, and musicians. Over the years, it has become an incredible asset to the Mission neighborhood.
When Leila found out she had to take an online ServSafe examination and course for her business, she initially felt intimidated. At 74, Leila hadn’t previously needed to use technology and never learned how to use it. Since joining the Home Connect program, however, Leila is learning how to navigate the internet with confidence as she prepares for her exam. The program has also provided her with the digital skills necessary to help her business survive and thrive in these challenging times.
“Calle 24 has been able to protect, preserve, and highlight the multiple Latino cultures in the Mission area,” says Gabriella. “With our advocacy efforts, the neighborhood has gained touristic relevance. This ensures the economic vitality of the community-oriented small businesses.”
We are excited to expand our program and envision how it can best serve the needs of the Calle 24 community. In part 2 of this story, read about the wider impact of Calle 24’s work in its fight against gentrification and how digital literacy plays a role in creating a more equitable world for all.