Editor's Note: The Patterson Foundation’s Digital Navigator Program trains local organizations to connect asset-limited families and individuals with opportunities to obtain digital connectivity, devices, skills, and support. Through a series of trainings, implementation meetings, and knowledge-sharing sessions with other nonprofits, consultants help participants embed the responsibilities of the digital navigator into the organization’s daily work and culture.
Three organizations are currently participating in a pilot of the Digital Navigator Program: Goodwill Manasota, UnidosNow, and Women’s Resource Center.
The Digital Navigator Program instills enthusiasm and brings a great dynamic to our team members and parents who are receiving help. “The digital navigator helped me to know how to use a computer, different applications, and obtain the benefit to pay less for my internet through EBB. We obtained a discount of $50 per month. That money has been used to pay for my husband’s medicine. Thanks to UnidosNow for all the help given to my family. Sincerely Norma Castillo, Bradenton”
UnidosNow is all about education. Our mission is to provide opportunities for our students and their parents to gain access to higher education. However, during the pandemic, our families lacked access to technology, connectivity, and digital literacy. How can we improve student education if parents can’t provide the infrastructure and/or digital knowledge to their children?
I want to extend a heartfelt “Thank You” to The Patterson Foundation and their initiative of Digital Access for All. The foundation is providing ongoing training to UnidosNow’s Digital Navigators with information that they convey to parents.
We have a great UnidosNow team that has dedicated their time to helping families learn about low-cost internet access, supporting families with the application process to get connectivity, and assisting families in learning about devices and where to get digital training.
Two of our digital navigators, Lucero Guzman and Leslye Trujillo, are our former first-generation students who went through our program and now have graduated from college. Leslye Trujillo shared, “We’re here to support families and create better opportunities for them. We understand their circumstances because we went through similar barriers.”
Our digital navigators have been making appointments with clients by Zoom. Pictured below, Lucero is showing a parent the application process for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBB Program).
“I’m here to learn, be an example for my three children, and support my community,” said Leydi Argueta. Leydi is a parent ambassador from our Parent Leadership Program. She took on the challenge of becoming a digital navigator. She knew that the job required additional knowledge and some computer skills, so she decided to go through the learning curve to support parents like herself, who need access to low-cost digital resources to help their children’s education. Leydi received help quickly from her peers Leslye and Lucero, and she now feels confident helping parents apply for low-cost internet programs and learn about digital literacy resources. The trio is doing an amazing job helping with each family’s unique circumstances.