Computer Skills Volunteer
Eager to learn. Hard-working. Curious. These are the characteristics that stay with me as I think back on my time as a volunteer computer skills instructor at Bridges. I thought my first lesson would involve an intro to Excel. Instead, I found myself clarifying the keyboard, helping students create a free web-based e-mail account, and explaining how and why to right-click. The issue wasn’t a lack of ability. And, it wasn’t a matter of work ethic. Most of my students carved out the time for class although busy with work, family, and other b2i activities. They just hadn’t been shown how to use a computer, or the Internet, and many couldn’t access the technology at home (usually due to cost).
I often feel that the people I worked with at Bridges taught me more than I taught them. I learned how hard it can be to find a job once you’ve been displaced from a stable home. I realized that being hard-working and putting in long hours isn’t always enough when you live in one of the most expensive areas in the country. I saw firsthand how we’re leaving some people behind as our world becomes increasingly digital.
As a Bridges volunteer, I was able to scale up the scope of my impact in the class room to people who are still “unconnected.” This is important because technology can be an equalizer whatever your zip code.