“Every time I start working with the older adults, I feel like I’m shortening the gap between our generation and theirs,” says volunteer digital coach Hanyang Xu.
Originally from China, Hanyang immigrated to the U.S. when he was in middle school. After graduating from Berkeley High School, he began his studies in business and computer science at San Francisco State University. He first heard about CTN’s volunteer opportunities through his Berkeley Community Scholars Program. An alumnus of the program recommended our digital coach program to Hanyang as a way to gain experience and strengthen his social skills — especially with older adults. With a desire to help others, Hanyang applied and soon completed volunteer training with CTN.
Since August, Hanyang has worked with two Cantonese-speaking learners. In these lessons, Hanyang slowly covers the basics of digital literacy. Beyond these skills, Hanyang has taught his learners how to use online shopping functions, look at stocks, and use other apps of interest.
At times, translating technical language into understandable terms can be a challenge. However, Hanyang is happy to learn alongside his learners as they navigate new apps together. “It’s really interesting to work with them because I’m also learning with them,” he reflects. “Sometimes if there’s something that I have never used before, I have to do some research before I start teaching them.”
As a college student interested in computer science, Hanyang recognizes the importance of the internet for everyone. A major benefit for older adults is that technology can make it easier to remain connected. “In the past, if you were trying to contact someone, you had to memorize their cellphone number,” reflects Hanyang. “But now it only takes a few clicks to see someone’s face through a piece of technology that fits in your pocket!”
Thank you, Hanyang, for all your hard work and dedication! Want to join him in helping older adults connect to tech? Consider joining our volunteer team!