Transforming lives through digital literacy.


Crystal Why’s life has been grounded in connecting with others through theater and performing arts. Crystal recently experienced a major lifestyle change: A lengthy surgical recovery and the pandemic’s unexpected social isolation mandates really threw her. Already working from home in administration for the Golden Gate University School of Law, she realized she craved human contact and interaction. While investigating virtual volunteer opportunities, she reached out to her social media connections for recommendations. Friend and fellow thespian Stephen Minor, senior program manager with CTN, recommended she check out CTN’s Home Connect program, which turned out to be the ideal volunteering solution.

Crystal’s performance career began when she moved to Philadelphia at age 19 after completing an accelerated program in broadcasting and audio production. She continued working and doing theater, with a resume including several performances at the Philadelphia Fringe and multiple credits in the Bay Area. These include performing on the main stage at Sacramento Pride in the first year after her move to the Bay Area seven years ago. She is semi-retired from theater, but still does administrative work and the occasional radio play or drag video.

Although she had previous experience as a trainer in an office setting and received additional preparation from CTN, she was nervous as she approached her first digital coach training session. She knew that teaching and empowering people, especially older adults, can be tricky. Her fears were soon eased when she was matched to Doles. “I was happy and encouraged when Doles turned out to be enthusiastic, hungry for knowledge, and eager to learn,” says Crystal.

Crystal closes by saying, “I know it’s time for me to move on to a new learner. I have told Doles we need to part ways since we have had nearly 15 sessions. I know Doles will continue to learn and grow her skills since she now has the confidence she needs. It has been a bittersweet goodbye, but I know she will be okay. I know she will keep learning whether or not I’m there, but at least now she knows how to do it right, and safely.”

Volunteer Spotlight: Crystal Why

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Stephen Minor