Among the many benefits of being born in the 90’s — gushing over boy bands, growing up with Harry Potter, watching Saved by the Bell — there is one advantage that many people my age take for granted: being raised with computer education.
I spend all day tapping away furiously on my laptop — first to do work at Operation HOPE, later to chat with friends, finally read the latest news on the 2012 election and even indulge in some online retail therapy. So I had to take a step back when presented with the material for my next workshop: Computer Basics. Here, the facilitator’s guide says, the participants will learn the functions of a mouse, what the internet is, and how to use a USB drive.
To the six adult participants who were at the workshop, these weren’t simple “basics”, but an eye-opening primer into many future possibilities. One woman, Irene Rivera, said that she was currently out of work, but hoped to learn how to use the computer well enough to be able to search for jobs and apply online. Others wanted to connect with grandchildren using social media, set up an email address for career opportunities, and maybe even circulate their own newspaper. Many of the participants promised to return to the Cyber Café the very next day to practice their new skills, and every one of them said they would be back for additional computer workshops.
It was incredibly rewarding for Customer Service Adviser Jade Raymond and me to see participants take their first steps towards digital empowerment, which is a clear component of true financial literacy. We hope that they learn skills that don’t just make little tasks simpler and faster, but help them gain confidence to participate in the modern marketplace using the power of technology. This confidence is priceless, but like all other HOPE workshops, the computer literacy class is free, and will be a recurring workshop on Mondays 5pm at the LA HOPE Center.