Michael Wiggins has been volunteering with CTN for just over a year now. He works in the tech industry and had been researching opportunities to teach digital literacy in Indonesia. Then he stumbled upon CTN and learned that he could address the digital divide right here in San Francisco.
He is the kind of person we love to work with because he is passionate about volunteerism. Before he found CTN, he worked with PAWS (Pets Are Wonderful Support), and he still volunteers for Wonder Cat Rescue. But, in his words, “CTN was an opportunity for me to diversify my own experience a little bit from working with animals to helping people.”
Michael began his service with CTN at the Western Addition Senior Center and then moved to St. Francis Living Room. The Living Room is one of our more unusual sites in that it doesn’t have a computer center! Instead, learners bring their own devices. While this might be a challenge, you would never know it by watching the way Michael works. In this unconventional space, he works with learners who often need a lot of one-on-one support. Michael told us, “I am really enjoying seeing learners develop a sense of ownership over their devices and helping them see their devices as more than a physical possession. Their phone or computer or tablet can and does exist to enlighten or delight them.”
From the start, Michael has been a strong advocate for CTN, and he has built strong relationships with his regular learners. Watching him joke around with the learners and grow their confidence is truly impressive. He told us, “Volunteer sessions are an opportunity for me to interact meaningfully with people I likely would never have met or spent time with otherwise, and also to learn about and share in (in a small way) their experiences. I feel more connected to this city as a result.”
To honor his efforts, we presented Michael with one of our 2017 volunteer awards, the Master Juggler Award. The award celebrates Michael’s ability to balance many people and many challenges. A very worthy winner! Thank you, Michael.