The Power of Access to Technology: Two Inspiring Stories
Last year, We Think 4 a Change received funding from Neighbor Up’s Technology Works grant for a Technology Works program small project putting laptops into clients' hands and included partnerships with PCs for People, University Settlement/Magic Johnson Foundation, PNC Fairfax Connection and TRI-C Education Center to give our clients access not only to laptops but the tools, training and education to use those laptops to achieve their goals.
This project has allowed us to create stronger relationships with our partner organizations by having our clients access their services. For example, client Stephanice got connected to educational opportunities at Tri-C to both get her GED and go on for her Community Health Worker . The project was very beneficial to those who benefited but, unfortunately, could only help some who were interested. However, the organization hopes to continue this funding to help others. If you are interested, stay tuned to their newsletter for more information.
How Access to Technology Impacted Darryl Fore
Darryl is the assistant program coordinator at A Place for Us, a senior residence for individuals 55 and older in Cleveland, Ohio. One of his responsibilities is maintaining the bulletin board, which is a valuable source of information for both residents and visitors. Since receiving his laptop, Darryl has gained greater flexibility and time back in his day. He no longer has to travel to a public facility to use a computer. He appreciates the unlimited time he has on his laptop. Darryl is creative and enjoys keeping residents updated on free or low-cost theater tickets. With his laptop, he can connect with local theaters through their online websites and email lists and share his learning with his community. Darryl initiated four theater trips for his neighbors through COVID programs that allow people to "pay what you can," which he says has been a windfall for the seniors in his building. He also appreciates how up-to-date his laptop is and looks forward to finding new ways to use it.
Stephanice is a long-term survivor who is going back to school. She received her laptop in March of 2023 and is set to get her GED and Community Health Worker (CHW) certificate through Tri-C. When she connected with We Think 4 a Change, she said she was down and out. However, Michelle Jackson Rollins and Tina Marbury of We Think 4 a Change enhanced and motivated her to work to give back to her community. For Stephanice, this meant getting her GED so she could become a Community Health Worker like Tina. She has a 3rd or 4th-grade reading level and never realized that with just a touch of a button, she could talk to her laptop and have it type out her words and spell them correctly. This has changed her life. She is also enjoying getting books online that she is using to improve her reading. In the future, Stephanice looks forward to continuing to write her book How God Brought Me Out, getting her GED and CHW certificate, and giving back to the community.
The enthusiasm both Darryl and Stephanice have for this opportunity is inspiring. It is incredible how access to technology can motivate individuals into action. Darryl is already impacting his community of senior folks and combating loneliness at a time when this is more important than ever. Stephanice is taking concrete steps to help herself (getting a GED) so she can help others (getting her Community Health Worker certificate).
With additional funding, We Think 4 a Change can help more individuals like Darryl and Stephanice gain access to technology and change their lives for the better.