Transforming lives through digital literacy.


Community Technology Network facilitated a Tech Teach-In at the North Beach Library on June 24, 2016. We paired seven seniors from Next Village SF with seven volunteers from Startups Give Back to provide help on mobile devices and laptops. Startups Give Back organizes individuals from startups to get out of their offices and work together to help nonprofits in their community. Next Village SF is a neighborhood nonprofit providing services and support that empower members to live independently in their own homes as they age.


Learner Stories

Diane was a senior who arrived at the North Beach Library full of anxiety and hesitation. “I almost didn’t come today because I was so overwhelmed by this thing,” she shared with me as we sat down together and took a look at her Android tablet. I could see the vulnerability and angst in her eyes. I asked her to tell me a bit more about her background, experience with using technology, and what skills she hoped to gain. We chatted and got to know one another better, and she began showing me what she knew about her tablet. What I gathered in this short interaction was that she was a complete beginner and needed to learn the basic concepts first.

Slowly but surely, we looked at the basic features of the tablet and she began tapping and swiping her way through the screens. By the end of our session, Diane’s anxiety seemed to have reduced and a look of calm took over. She was extremely grateful for not only the patience and support she received, but to know there were people out there who could help her learn technology at her pace. As she left the library, she grabbed my hand and thanked me. “You guys are building bridges for people like us!”

Other learners expressed their appreciation of the support and attention they received from the volunteer trainers. Sid, who learned more about using his cell phone said, “Thanks for today’s counseling group on how to use cell phones. It was very helpful to me. The people were friendly and very savvy. I appreciate your efforts in setting it up.”

Interested in helping people gain skills and confidence? Volunteer with Community Technology Network!

Volunteers from Startups Help Seniors in San Francisco

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Heather DeSmidt