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Community Tech Network’s mission is to unite organizations and volunteers to transform lives through digital literacy.
To achieve its mission, CTN responds to community need and operates a range of programs that serve low-income people, including: older adults, veterans, long-term unemployed, transitional age youth, immigrants and families.
Digital Skills Training
Raising the Level of Digital Literacy
CTN works with community partners to provide FREE access to computers, the internet, and skilled instructors. However, with the rise in ownership of tablets and smartphones—among seniors in particular—many training sessions now help people optimize the use of their own device. These are our current projects:
- SF Connected: Funded by the San Francisco Department of Aging and Adult Services, SF Connected focuses on older adults and people with disabilities. CTN offers Digital Skills Trainers in more than 25 locations citywide, covering subjects as diverse as internet safety, voter registration, social media, and video calling. Download the SF Connected map here and view the training schedule here.
- NeighborNest – Get Connected: In partnership with Twitter and area nonprofits, Get Connected offers clients a variety of classes in English and Spanish that address beginner to intermediate level computer users. Our collective goal is to help clients address their basic needs of finding housing and employment.
- Digital Parents Program: CTN works in low-income communities to deliver digital literacy classes in English and Spanish to parents. The classes cover family-related topics, such as online family health resources, educational games, and internet safety. Parents are also supported with their job seeking activities.
- Support in Housing: CTN now works in 21 low-income housing communities to provide on-site technology instructions. Skilled trainers offer job-search support and a range of other one-to-one help, depending on the needs of the individual or family.
- Tech Teach-In Events: CTN organizes events in partnership with local companies and nonprofits that bring volunteers and learners together. These 2-hour long events help learners, often on their own devices, gain basic digital skills and confidence.
Connect @ Home Program
Getting More Households Online
Sometimes it simply isn’t feasible for someone to go to a library or community center to learn basic computer skills. Therefore, CTN works in partnership to help low-income families and older adults get connected to internet at home. The following projects are currently underway:
- Tech Allies: In partnership with Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly in San Francisco and launched with a grant from Metta Fund, the program matches volunteers with homebound, isolated seniors who need help getting online. Over two years, 75 seniors will receive an iPad, 3-months of internet and 8 weeks of training.
- Connect @ Home: In partnership with Family Eldercare in Austin and with funding from the Consumer Technology Association Foundation, we will provide a tablet, 6-months of internet and 12 weeks of training for 40 low-income seniors.
Developing Digital Leaders
Creating Community-Tech Champions
CTN believes that for projects to be sustainable, there must be people who are dedicated to the cause and take a lead in their community. Our current projects are as follows:
- Digital Literacy Corps: The Digital Literacy Corps is a team of tech-savvy volunteers who deliver our Digital Skills Training program. This program offers volunteers comprehensive training to prepare them for working with the special populations who CTN supports and for teaching core digital literacy skills. It also includes social and networking events for volunteers. If you are passionate about digital literacy and have the skills to help people learn, find out how you can join the Digital Literacy Corps.
- Ready, Set, Connect!: Ready, Set, Connect! (RSC) is a youth leadership development project initiated by CTN in 2013 through a partnership with the Oakland Public Library. Twenty youth each year enhance their digital literacy while volunteering for the library to help library patrons with their technology questions. The program is now fully managed by the library, for more information about the program visit their website.
- Digital Ambassadors: We recruit people to be digital leaders in their own affordable housing communities. Our Digital Ambassadors have the tech skills to help fellow residents in the computer center as well as the knowledge to help them get connected at home. A stipend is offered to the Ambassadors, making this an important employment opportunity for residents.