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5 Days of EqualiTech Stories from Goleta Valley Tech Center

Over the course of the past year, we have had many wonderful people come to use the computers at Goleta Valley Tech Center. These are some of their stories, as told by our Manager Dawer. If you are interested in getting involved with Goleta Valley Tech Center please contact us at info@equalitech.org or via our social media channels

fixing hardware issues

Our services to the community goes beyond the teaching and help using the computers. We also were able to recover the Operating System for a Windows laptop from one of our patrons. Homeless, and very ill, this middle age man came for two days in the row to use the Tech Center. After a lot of trial and error, special patience was necessary because the computer was running really slow. Nevertheless, I was able to figure out a hardware problem, opened it up, adjusted it and reinstalled. Today I returned it to him and he was really excited about it. The appreciation I felt through his smile is one of the most beautiful gifts I have been able to receive.

The appreciation I felt through his smile is one of the most beautiful gifts I have been able to receive.

Maricela

Maricela came to the Tech Center as the result of outreach and collaboration with the local Headstart School adjacent to us. She came in one afternoon with the school principal who was aware of some Latino parents interested in learning basic computers skills. I committed to training her, and from that day, established a weekly routine that remains alive today. The mother of two kids, she didn’t know how to type or use the mouse at the beginning, but she has strong character, a big smile, and purpose, which combined with our guidance and support made her a confident student. After two months of training on Typing Club, she created her first email account with Google. She comes with her son Victor at 5pm most weekdays, and he sometimes looks at his mom with surprise about how much she is learning at the moment. We have yet to find a limit to her learning abilities as she is learning how to use Facebook across different devices and we are planning to introduce her to other platforms such as Duolingo, Google Docs and Google Classroom. I strongly believe this is just the starting point of the immense positive impact EqualiTech will have in the immigrant and low income community of Goleta Valley. Many of these parents have felt disempowered for years seeing their children use technology that is alien for them. Well, not anymore with our support and presence, and by applying our model of personalized attention that the first steps of computer literacy requires.

I strongly believe this is just the starting point of the immense positive impact EqualiTech will have in the immigrant and low income community of Goleta Valley.

Phyllis

When the opportunity comes to helps someone like Phyllis, you don’t question it!

When the opportunity comes to helps someone like Phyllis, you don’t question it! She has an amazing personality, always smiling and the voice of an actress. She came by the Tech Center for help building her website. She already had an account with a CMS platform and some pages with some content, but it was far from a finished product. By the end of that first day, we were able to redesign the basic structure and adjust the content so that the pictures and headings started to be more congruent with each other. It was obvious that Phyllis was highly intelligent so I pushed her more than I have with anyone else. Currently she is learning how to make major changes in her website by herself; from editing/adding text and pictures to creating a page and selecting a layout for it. After lots of hard work and persistence, coming two or three afternoons per week, Phyllis has built out a beautiful, simple and spiritual website at: www.quantumawakeningcoach.org It is amazing to think we were part of helping her to achieve this goal!

Creating an email account

Today I helped someone to create a Gmail account. It was my first student for the Basic Uses of Computers class. In my time at the center, I have learned that it is often quite challenging for older adults to learn even basic skills on the computer.

It is often quite challenging for older adults to learn even basic skills on the computer.

Using the mouse and the keyboard, although second nature to many of us, is a matter of precision and can prove very difficult. This particular gentleman had Parkinson’s Disease and his use of his hands was quite limiting, but his determination to get his email account created was stronger than his limitations. In an hour and half I was able to not only help him create the account but also teach him the basic idea of inbox organization, and how to compose a new message. We both felt a huge sense of accomplishment as this man is now able to keep in touch with his friends and family.

Learning to type

A very sweet, well-mannered gentleman from Liberia came to the center asking for help typing his resume. I got him started with Google Docs but he got very nervous and confessed that he was anxious about how long it takes for him to type because he is not very good at it. He asked me how to improve his typing skills, so I introduced him to an online tool I discovered with Professor Aracelys of Padres Unidos (I think he will come back to use it). After that, he took over and finished his resume, composed a formal, short message and pressed send. We shared a high five and I was so proud to have helped him achieve his goal. Sometimes all people need is a little encouragement and someone to high five when they’re done.

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