When Daniel Rascon was doing a full-time remote internship this summer, his employer gave him time off to do volunteer work. While searching for remote volunteer opportunities that would help people affected by the pandemic, he discovered CTN. After visiting with CTN staff, he decided to become a digital coach, helping isolated older adults remain safe and healthy by learning to use a device, access the internet, and leverage the power of technology. Daniel is a senior at St. Mary’s College of California and will graduate in May with a degree in mathematics and computer science. Originally from Chihuahua, Mexico, he came to the U.S. about 3 1/2 years ago to attend school.
“I know the digital divide causes problems in life every day when you don’t have internet access, a device, and the skills to use them. In my academic and work experience, I am building and designing technology. While you think you are building something relatively simple to use, it is very important to always design and build products accessible by everyone, including those with no digital skills,” Daniel said.
Daniel worked with Home Connect learner Rachel, and they spoke mostly in Spanish during the training. It was more comfortable for Rachel, who is from Peru, because English is her second language. Since Rachel wanted to learn to communicate with her family and friends back in Peru, WhatsApp became the focus of most of their training.
Rachel was happy and grateful for the opportunity to receive personalized remote training and a device of her own. No one had ever taken the time to teach her how to work with technology. Before she knew it, she and her brother were messaging and exchanging videos of themselves singing and playing the guitar.
Currently, Daniel has refocused on his studies but hopes to continue helping the Home Connect program. He said, “I really enjoyed working with Rachel; I believe she now has a better way to connect with her loved ones using technology, and there are a lot of seniors out there waiting for their turn to learn.”
You are welcome back any time, Daniel; many older adults are waiting for you.