A Journey to the 21st Century
by Megan Trotter
Meet Rudy. I just did, as he walked into the Tenderloin Technology Lab, a partnership between San Francisco Network Ministries and the St. Anthony Foundation, along with around 40 other people this past Saturday, September 22. It was our quarterly Tech Fair. During this special Saturday event, we work with ReliaTech to offer free computer repair and special computer courses. Rudy was here for the computer repair. As I talked to him about what brought him here this Saturday, I realized that there is a great connectedness between the service providers and that he had quite a journey to end up at our Tech Fair.
Rudy initially started his voyage into the 21st century and computer technology when he enrolled at San Francisco City College. As a student in their Medical Assistant program he quickly realized that he needed to overcome his technology phobia (50% of his courses are computer based). As he struggled with his fear of technology and the cost of computer technology in particular he reached out to his social worker at Tom Waddell Health Center. From his social worker, Rudy was referred to the Santa Rosa Computer Recycling Center. With this referral, Rudy was able to secure a free computer. This allowed Rudy to continue to work on his goal to overcome his phobia and become comfortable with computers, but after 2 months of use, Rudy’s new computer crashed. Scrambling to figure out how to repair his computer, Rudy contacted many computer repair shops only to realize the price of repair was out of his reach. This only reinforced Rudy’s fear of technology and the price of technology in particular. Fortunately, while accessing services at the San Francisco Public Library Rudy saw a flyer for the Tenderloin Technology Lab’s Tech Fair. He immediately signed up and was able to access our service of free computer repair.
As we talked, I asked Rudy why he thought computer technology was important, and he explained that he needed the skills to apply for jobs online as the likelihood of finding a job through face to face interaction is rapidly decreasing. Due to this fact and as other services move online, Rudy said that he feels very fortunate to have entered the 21st century. As a service provider, I felt comforted to know that with many organizations offering many different programs, we are able to work in conjunction to allow people like Rudy to utilize an array of services.
Megan Trotter is the manager of the Tenderloin Technology Lab