Transforming lives through digital literacy.

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San Francisco’s newest tech learning center — Twitter’s ‪NeighborNest — officially opened on May 5 with a ceremony attended by Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, Mayor Edwin M. Lee, Community Tech Network board chair Gayle Samuelson Carpentier, and representatives from a number of our nonprofit friends. 

Gayle explained:

Twitter is exploring an approach to corporate charitable giving that is exciting and innovative for the tech industry in San Francisco. They have made a commitment to co-create a solution to the challenges facing homeless and very low income families in San Francisco. Twitter has committed to having a significant percentage of employees at their Market Street headquarters volunteer with families using the NeighborNest. The NeighborNest is about much more than donated computers and a beautiful tech learning space. It’s about building lasting relationships between Twitter employees and the community. This creates a needed bridge across the chasm that has been developing between SOMA tech companies and low and moderate income San Franciscans.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that “Twitter expects 10 percent of its San Francisco workforce — about 200 people — to hop across the street to volunteer at the center over the next six months.”

Community Tech Network, along with leaders from nonprofits such as Compass Family Services, Catholic Charities, JVS, and the St. Anthony Foundation, are partnering with Twitter to support the NeighborNest.

Community Tech Network understands how both volunteer service and digital literacy have the power to transform lives. Having a computer isn’t enough without the skills and confidence to use it. Basic digital skills are essential to finding a job or housing, doing well in school or taking a GED test, communicating with health care and social service providers, finding critical health information, locating needed services, and reducing isolation.

Twitter employees have tremendous skills and talents that can contribute to Mid-Market, Tenderloin, and SOMA neighborhoods. With more than one-third of households in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood surviving on less than $15,000 annually, there is a lot to be done.

Read the San Francisco Chronicle article on Twitter’s NeighhborNest.

Here is how Leah Laxamana (@llaxamana), Twitter’s project manager for public policy, described Twitter’s vision and goals for the new center:

What began a year ago as a vision for a place to provide technology access and training has evolved into a welcoming and safe environment to explore possibilities and exchange knowledge — where clients and Twitter volunteers are both teachers and learners.

Along with a family-friendly technology center, we’re excited about having a place to bring the community together to tackle the neighborhood’s complex challenges and find new ways to harness its resilience for a bright future.

This summer, some of the NeighborNest’s programming will include workshops on housing, employment, life skills, digital citizenship, Twitter for nonprofits, and coding for kids, as well as open computer lab time for clients to help strengthen their online skills.

Follow @NeighborNest to keep up-to-date on the center’s activities and news.

Twitter NeighborNest: San Francisco’s Newest Tech Learning Center

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Ron Nieberding