“It’s very difficult to get anything done without a computing device,” says Digital Literacy volunteer Charles (Chuck) Vogt. “You have to have an online account to do almost anything these days.”
Chuck helps adults at the Phillis Wheatley Library set up accounts and fine tune resumes as well as search and apply for jobs. Having spent some time in the past helping others write resumes he notes, “I really like helping with resumes if they have the framework started. I like to encourage people in the process of hunting for jobs.” For example, he once pointed out to a customer that her ability to speak both English and Spanish was a valuable asset that she should list on her resume because it helped her stand out.
Chuck appreciates that the Digital literacy program is available to adults who do not have their own computer or internet at home and so must use public facilities. He likes that the program is “helping people who struggle with poverty and who don’t have the resources where there’s a real need.” He acknowledges the program’s “practical approach to helping people better their lives. A lot of folks don’t know [computer] functionality but they come in a few times and get more comfortable. I enjoy helping people so they can develop new skills.”
After 37 years working as an Engineer at Kodak, Chuck decided to retire early so that he and his wife, Debbie, could go to Africa to serve with Mercy Ships, a hospital ship that provides free healthcare. To date, they have spent 14 months in Africa over three separate trips to Guinea, Congo, and Cameroon. Volunteering has “changed my world view” Chuck says. “I’m concerned about social justice. I’m more sensitive to issues of poverty.”
He heard about the Digital Literacy program from Debbie who has volunteered as an English language tutor with Literacy Rochester. According to Chuck, the most valuable thing about being a Digital Literacy volunteer is the opportunity to interact with individuals he typically wouldn’t interact with. “I end up learning a lot from people,” he reflects.
If you are considering becoming a digital literacy volunteer, Chuck has this to say:
If you can use a computer, you can do this. I’m usually competent enough to help people. It’s a piece of cake for college students who have grown up using a computer. But you’ll be helpful no matter what stage you’re in. Younger folks may have more of a computer background, older people may have more life experience with the job market to offer.
Thank you, Chuck, for being a patient volunteer who is willing to listen.
Digital Literacy, a program of Literacy Rochester, helps adults become fully engaged in their community as citizens, parents, consumers, and workers. The Digital Literacy program is provided free of charge on a one-to-one, drop-in basis in partnership with OACES.