From the Desk of….. Brenda Zornow

I have been with Literacy Rochester since the fall of 2018. I learned of the organization when I was working for the Finger Lakes Regional Adult Education Network, formerly at the WXXI building here in Rochester.

It was during that time that I met Brian Kane and Robert Mahar and was able to hear directly from them about the idea of helping individuals with digital skills.  I immediately connected with the idea of making sure that no one was left behind because of the cost or accessibility of technology; that all people, no matter their economic status, reading ability, age, or location should be able to gain information and services through the internet and other technical means. 

Flashback to 10 years ago, I was a college graduate but still living in a subsidized apartment because I was struggling to make ends meet and support my small family.  It was difficult to see a way out and it was very discouraging to know that I was giving my all and still not able to fully provide for myself and my children without help. I looked for hope and through an internet search I came across resources for low income families to realize the goal of home ownership.  I received training, information, and connections with financial institutions who didn’t treat me like I was in the wrong place.  I dug in hard and fought for my future and with help I was able to close on a house and feel like I was finally starting on the road to financial independence.

When I started my professional career I knew that I wanted to work in the community and help people who needed support to reach their own personal goals.  The help I received from local agencies and non-profits solidified that drive to give that same encouragement to others. I am thankful to the individuals who cared enough to help a complete stranger and to the people that give to these programs that allow for those struggling to find a way to succeed.

As a Rochester native, growing up just off of Dewey Avenue, I have seen so much growth in this community. I have also seen the disparities that have grown due to information accessibility and economic standing.  I search for a way to use my skills and knowledge to break the cycle. I know that my understanding of technology and how to find and create what you need digitally is sharable knowledge. 

From the moment I found out about the Digital Literacy program I knew it was the right fit for me to share my abilities and give back to my community.

The quote I live by ‘Pay it Forward.’

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