One of the fringe benefits of having a daughter on staff at CTN is the convenience of having a “built-in” digital coach to help you with online challenges.
CTN’s development director, Laurie Sanchez, has been with the organization since 2015 and in that time has held many different positions. Originally hired to manage the SF Connected program, Laurie spent much of her time either working in senior centers to help older adults with their technology questions, or she was training volunteers to help. When shelter-in-place orders came in March, Laurie immediately thought of the many in-person interactions that are important to her family. Her mother, Laura who is 91 years young, uses her computer and email daily related to family communication, book clubs, and discussion groups she leads or joins. Isolation seemed grimly inevitable.
Laurie pitched using Zoom to do a video meeting to lead the “Taking the Sermon into the World” discussion that follows the Sunday sermon each week. Mom liked the idea, and Laurie jumped on the opportunity to show her how to use Zoom, going early March 22 (four days after the statewide shelter-in-place order) to download Zoom and teach the basics. Laurie joined the call to help participants work through muting and unmuting the microphone. They got the hang of it quickly, and it is the Sunday routine now.
Laura has this to say: “My daughter Laurie helped me set up Zoom, which allowed me to participate in a number of Zoom meetings. They enrich my life by keeping me in touch with the community of friends in the various groups I belong to. The distanced in-person meetings have gone a long way in keeping my sanity by keeping my human interactions alive and active! I miss frequent lunches in restaurants with friends, and in-person weekly breakfasts with my family. There’s nothing like touching and hugging!”
We appreciate Laurie and Laura sharing their experience. Their touching story illustrates the importance of staying connected to friends, family, and community during these unusual times. Thank you, Laurie, for all you do to help CTN keep seniors safe. And thank you, Laura, for being such an inspiration to other learners your age.