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by Julie Howlett
on May 15, 2018

Craft Impact Cares: Internet Classes with the Nashville Public Library

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There are so many things that I love about being part of the Craft Impact team, but one of my favorite things is how we are encouraged to get involved in our communities through the Craft Impact Cares program.

As Molly explained in her post, the “Craft Impact Cares” program allows each employee the opportunity to give back to their community through volunteer efforts. Employees take one day per quarter – that would ordinarily be a work day – to volunteer for the charity or non-profit of their choosing.

For my first Craft Impact Cares project, I spent the afternoon with an employee from the Nashville Public Library who teaches internet classes to local seniors. In high school, I earned money teaching my grandmother’s friends how to use their computers, so I was excited to use my experience to help.

Walking into the class, I had no idea what to expect. The class that day was all about email and how it works. Some of the students brought their own computers, but most used donated laptops provided by the library. We walked through email vocabulary terms and did some demonstrations on how to compose, reply to, and even forward emails (sorry to their relatives who are probably getting blasted with chain letters now). They had tons of questions which led to other discussions about Google, iPads, and even Facebook. I loved how interested and engaged the entire class was.

A couple of hours later, I had made new friends, heard amazing stories, and hoped that I was able to help teach a little something along the way. Only one or two people in the class had ever used email before. I helped one woman get on the internet and use Google for the first time. It felt great to help people, and it was a fun challenge to try to explain the internet and email to people who had only used it a handful of times, if at all.

After the class, I spent some time talking with the instructor, who has been teaching classes like this across the Nashville area for several years. He told me that many seniors feel forgotten in a way because the world has become so reliant on the internet. In Nashville, most government services have moved online, and even finding a phone number to call is becoming more difficult, leaving seniors who have no experience with a computer unable to access the information they need. Answering questions like “What is email?” or “How do I Google?” can not only help seniors better understand the world they’re living in, but can also give them a lifeline to services that will improve their quality of life.

It was a great experience and I hope to go back and help with another class soon!