“I need to understand technology so that I can help my child succeed in school,” explained Mission resident Miriam, who came with her eight-year-old daughter to a free Mission Promise Neighborhood technology event at MEDA’s Plaza Adelante today.
Miriam was just one of many Mission residents who dropped by to take digital literacy classes taught by a number of volunteers from the tech world. This “Get Connected! event,” presented by Accelerate with Google, was the fifth in the series to date and was possible only with the additional support of Platinum Sponsor ECHO Technology Solutions; Gold Sponsor Kapor Center for Social Impact; Silver Sponsor Comcast; and Community Sponsor Zoomforth.
The need to bridge the digital divide is clear: a Mission Promise Neighborhood School Climate Survey, conducted last year, indicated that just 54 percent of residents had a computer at home. This stands in juxtaposition to being in the Mission, the neighborhood of choice for many of the innovators creating the next greatest app or messengering device, thereby revolutionizing global interaction.
Classes today spanned all age ranges, with fun, physical activities for kids to Android app building.
Additionally, there were non-tech offerings running the gamut from housing resources and getting your GED to signing up for a WiFi point of access.
A packed room also was offered the invaluable counsel of a Latino Career Panel, who shared their intriguing stories of how they wound up working in the world of tech. Panelists included: Juany Torres of Google; Martin Thormann of ECHO Technology Solutions; Lawrence Coburn of DoubleDutch; Daisy Galvan of Facebook; and Roberto Lopez from Apple. The takeaway was that there are opportunities for Latinos in the tech industry, especially with the Hispanic population growing the fastest of any minority in the U.S., translating into a market the tech industry will want as customers.
As an added benefit, every person who attended five workshops today was entered into raffles of over 20 tablets and prizes, courtesy of Google. The winners’ faces beamed with joy, as they now had a computing device to better their family’s lives.
Summed up Miriam as she left Plaza Adelante, with a Google Nexus 7 tablet in hand, “I now have more of the tools needed to help my family. I look forward to learning more!”