Caption: CTN volunteer Alexander Bryan assists older adult learners at the Canon Kip Community Center.
Since Alexander Bryan is a freelance graphic designer who works from home every day, the COVID-19 stay-safe-at-home restrictions have had little impact on his daily work life. Just another day at the office. What Alex does miss, however, is being able to interact with senior learners for two hours nearly every Monday at the Canon Kip Senior Center in San Francisco as a CTN volunteer trainer.
Alex became interested in volunteering for CTN over six months ago after accompanying his friend who is a CTN board member to an event. That evening, he had an opportunity to interact with CTN staff, volunteers, and some of the older learners that had been helped by CTN. He was fascinated by their stories about how their lives had been changed by their introduction to the digital world.
Their stories resonated with Alex, reminding him of how he helped his mom slowly transition from — in his words — a “digital novice” to being able to use a device and to get online. Although she recently moved back to Croatia, she left with the confidence and skills to communicate with her family in distant countries. When Alex listened to the senior learners that evening, he immediately knew what his new volunteer career was going to be.
While volunteering at Canon Kip, Alex works with both returning learners who seek him out with questions or requests for additional assistance, as well as some “drop-ins.” One of his most memorable success stories was helping a woman complete and submit a housing application. Although she spoke Chinese and Alex does not, Alex’s experience coaching older adults combined with her minimal English allowed them to successfully complete the application in three or four sessions. The big payoff: she now is living happily in her new residence.
While Alex is eagerly waiting to return to Canon Kip and see his old friends, CTN isn’t currently placing volunteers in senior centers or housing developments and won’t do so until they reopen post-COVID-19. Until this occurs, CTN is using volunteers to help learners remotely through our new Home Connect program. If you are interested in learning more, please share your contact information here.