“If you enjoy helping people but your schedule demands a lot of time, CTN is quite flexible. Whatever your schedule is, the senior learners will definitely try to make the time for you. They truly see this as an experience to learn new things, and they take the heart to what you’re trying to teach them,” says digital coach Jasper Hua.
Born and raised in San Francisco, Jasper currently studies economics with minors in Chinese and computer science at the University of San Francisco. When program manager Stephen Minor went to talk to one of his classes about CTN’s volunteer opportunities, Jasper quickly took an interest and applied to be a digital coach. In March, he started working with a Home Connect learner and has since completed all 10 of their lessons together.
Today, Jasper is on CTN staff as a bilingual digital literacy instructor, working with Mandarin- and Cantonese-speaking learners on their initial digital skills training. For him, both the volunteer and part-time staff positions are great ways to stay connected to the community while still in school. “I find my work with CTN to be perfect in between — I want to do something to help, but at the same time, I don’t want to overexert myself. This is a perfect balance for me.”
Jasper is currently working with a learner who had limited tablet use before their lessons. As their lessons continued, the learner quickly got the hang of it — leading them to explore more advanced topics, like watching live-streamed games. “The most rewarding part is seeing the learner’s digital fluency increase after just a few lessons,” says Jasper. “In the beginning, they didn’t know how to pull up anything on a tablet. But now, I’ll tell them what they need to do, and they automatically know. I find that to be the most satisfying part.”
As the pandemic continues to keep seniors at home, Jasper recognizes the importance of remote programming and virtual alternatives to essential activities. He also wants to ensure the safety and comfort of his Chinese or Chinese-speaking learners — many of whom are cautious of going out in public alone due to recent hate crimes in the area. With basic digital skills, Jasper’s learners can access essential information and helpful resources without leaving home.
CTN is grateful to have such a dedicated volunteer-turned-instructor on our team! If you’re looking for a flexible way to help others and get involved in your community, consider joining us as a volunteer digital coach!