Just after the latest Connect @ Home class came to a close, I sat down with Chuck Linton at Oak Springs Villas in Austin to talk about his volunteer work with Community Tech Network. We ate a few snacks that Chuck had picked up for the class at a nearby bakery as we talked.
Chuck has been helping CTN at Oak Springs since October 2018, when he learned about us from a posting on Volunteer Match. Since retiring, Chuck has been looking for ways to put his technical expertise to work helping out the Austin community. His work at IBM had brought him around the world, starting as an electrical engineer, working his way to business development in East Asia, and finally ending up helping IBM make sector-defining decisions in mergers and acquisitions. He’s kept a passion for technology going strong his entire life, and today is no different.
In class, Chuck works to find a way to show each student how technology can be useful in their lives. “For Ruthie, it’s definitely cooking,” he explained to me, “and for Chance, it’s music. Lorraine enjoys pretty much anything if it’s on the tablet.” He explains that these points of interest can open the door for learners to start seeing technology as something fun and accessible instead of frightening and complicated.
Beyond the pure lessons, Chuck realizes the value in the sort of friendship a CTN class creates among the students and trainers. “I could spend all of my time disconnected in West Austin, and I’d never meet anyone like the people learning here,” he remarked. By spending his time with learners at Oak Springs, Chuck is doing more with CTN than just digital literacy training. Chuck’s work is helping people build lasting friendships that connect elders living across Austin. This week, I’m overjoyed to be celebrating his contributions to Community Tech Network and the communities we serve.