Eric chuckles when he recalls his jail cell. “I had books stacked everywhere on my bed. I spent all my time reading about careers and work, and preparing mentally to get out and get better.”
He eventually left that cell behind, strongly motivated by his hopes and dreams. While living at a halfway house, Eric realized, “I needed to rebuild my life from the ground up.”
Although he was able to get a part-time contract job with the help of a friend, he said it just wasn’t enough. Eric discovered Digital Literacy during a visit to Lincoln Branch Library on Joseph Avenue in Rochester. He spotted the Computer Help Sign and introduced himself to a Digital Literacy volunteer navigator.
The navigator and Empire State College intern, Tricia, worked closely with Eric. By the end of their first session, Eric had a new resume and email account, had applied for several jobs, and explored websites for SUNY schools and civil service jobs.
Over the following months, Tricia and Eric continued working together. Eric learned new computer skills, applied for more jobs, and researched careers. He obtained a Lifeline cell phone, received a driver’s permit and will soon get his license. He also acquired two jobs.
Best of all, Eric now has options. He lives in a home of his choosing, and has decided on a career path. He will be starting Sterile Processing Technician classes at Rochester Educational Opportunity Center in a few months. “I want to be excellent and irreplaceable, so I’m going to study hard and throw everything I have into this career.”
While he trains, Eric will continue working at Community Lutheran Ministries. And, he’s organized a “Board of Directors” for his life. One of the members of his board is Tricia.
“Digital Literacy volunteers are phenomenal, willing to share their talents, and very much appreciated. I plan to continue to use their services, and highly recommend others use them as well.”