Mary’s Place computer literacy workshops help families build confidence

John is an attendee of Computer Literacy Workshops being held this month at Mary’s Place. “We’ve been at Mary’s Place for two months. What’s holding us back has been identification,” says John. John’s situation is indicative of a need for access to the internet and technology that provides more opportunities for women, children and families on the journey out of homelessness.

“Now that I have this laptop and internet service, maybe it will be easier, I can get in contact with the DMV, and they can send it here. It will be easier to apply for a job and look for other resources for daycare and things that are hard to do on our phones. The connected laptop will help us out with those online things,” John added.

Mary’s Place provides safe, inclusive shelter and services to keep struggling families together, inside, and secure when they have no place else to go. They provide shelter, services, resources, community and hope. In addition to helping families meet basic needs, such as meals, showers and laundry facilities, they offer resources for managing financial needs and finding employment. As a part of those efforts, they recently began a series of Computer Literacy Workshops.

The Computer Literacy Courses began last month thanks in part to support from Comcast. Last December, Comcast Washington donated $250,000 in technology resources to Mary’s Place. The technology resources supported new computers, internet connectivity and updated hardware and software for computer labs at Mary’s Place.

This generous gift enabled the creation of a series of computer literacy workshops to help families build confidence with their computer skills. Workshops began in June and the three held so far have welcomed 28 attendees.

Tech-savvy volunteers facilitate the workshops and familiarize attendees with job application sites, how to use search engines, resume formatting, and tools like Google Maps to track their bus routes.

Our attendees’ familiarity with technology can range from beginner to novice. For many non-English speaking families, getting comfortable with a keyboard is half the battle. These classes give those guests the opportunity to improve their typing abilities, a skill they can ultimately add to their resumes.

Each workshop attendee receives a free laptop, courtesy of Comcast. Volunteers and staff know that guests can use these resources to achieve their employment and housing goals and that having a laptop of their own will give families more opportunities to improve their skills and find a great job. Furthermore, obtaining these skills and having full access to their own technology allows guests at Mary’s place to manage their finances by opening bank accounts and tracking their expenses.

We are so grateful to Comcast and our volunteers for sharing these computers, their skills and their expertise with families who are excited to learn more about using technology to build financial stability. By improving computer literacy and connecting more families and individuals to the internet, we give more people a chance to transition out of homelessness and succeed in today’s digital economy.

To learn more about us, get help or get involved visit: marysplaceseattle.org. To learn more about Comcast’s $550 million investment in digital literacy visit: corporate.comcast.com/values/internet-essentials

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