Transforming lives through digital literacy.


Photo Caption: A park becomes a classroom

In early April, a senior in San Francisco reached out to Castro Senior Center to find out where he could go for internet access. They referred him to CTN. Paul (not his real name) shared he regularly utilized senior centers and libraries to access the internet and computers, as well as volunteers and library staff to address his questions. With these public spaces closed and with no smartphone, he was able to access online information only by calling a friend who has internet.

CTN staff member Josie Boyle responded to Paul’s inquiry. He shared with Josie his frustration with the problems being exposed by this COVID-19 crisis. He realized that the people who are most hurt by self-isolation are the same ones that don’t have internet. From his involvement at the library he knows that there are many great information resources and entertainment opportunities to keep people busy if they have internet and a computer. Josie realized that Paul had a solid, informed understanding of the digital divide and felt compelled to try to assist him.

CTN had previously received a donation of MacBooks and iPads from Twitter, so Josie retrieved a MacBook from the CTN office and made arrangements to meet Paul. “He’s a very friendly gentleman and was clearly grateful for the MacBook and the assistance”, Josie shared. They met in a small park near his apartment and sat on opposite ends of a bench while she explained the basics of the MacBook, the word processor, and how to connect to Wi-Fi. Paul doesn’t currently have home internet, so he is planning to access the library’s public Wi-Fi (from outside the library) until he can get home access set up. Josie provided him information about the low-cost options available for seniors in San Francisco. Paul hopes to be able to take classes remotely and use the computer for communication. 

A very special thanks to Josie for her willingness and creativity to help an older adult who has found his life enriched through digital learning. This is yet another example of a small but important contribution by CTN to the older adult community. We’re hoping to help others like Paul. If you know an older adult in San Francisco who lacks a device or internet connectivity, please email

Providing Connections During COVID-19

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John Stock