Bethany Schwarz - Computer Teacher:
---The residents at Laguna Honda Hospital have formed a Computer Club with many of the ‘’key elements needed for success in the LHH environment,’’ says resident pointman Paul H. It was his idea that has germinated into the present form of the Computer Club. The Club motto is – ‘’give us an opportunity to make you HAPPY by exploring things that you ENJOY…on the computer. Our OBJECTIVE is your happiness and to make you an EXPLORER according to your abilities.’’---Things have fallen into place for the Computer Club virtually right away. '' I had an idea for residents to purchase laptops,’’ says Paul. With much help from Judith Klain, LHH Administrator, they had a grant written by Thomas McEvoy that was picked up by Marie Jobling of the San Francisco Community Living Campaign. The CLC provided a few refurbished computers for residents who meet the criteria of understanding their enrollment in the time bank and would benefit from having a PC (personal computer) of their own. Some already have one.
---We set the table very quickly…when Bethany Schwarz made her entrance. She was hired through the time bank by CLC, but they never felt her talents were being optimized. She was sent our way and are we fortunate that she was. Bethany came to the LHCC armed with all the right stuff. ‘’Her philosophy and talents couldn’t fit any better,’’ says Paul H.
---Bethany’s first day showed how she immediately ‘’got’’ what her assignment would be. Bethany hooked up a resident with her daughter’s Facebook page. She saw pictures of her daughter and grandchildren her daughter had posted. It was a magical moment. She taught SKYPE to a member of the Laguna Honda’s Spanish community. He plans to use SKYPE for himself and others he knows to get in touch with family members in other countries. She next had a resident with memory challenges. It was not determined how much his lack of memory skills would interfere with his enjoyment of the computer that his family gave him. I left for a few moments only to return to Bethany and the resident singing old DOORS songs from his computer…that he remembered from his past. Kiddingly…Bethany gave him an A+ for his work…making his day (if NOT his year.) She thinks that it will not be too difficult to set his up his computer for him.
---Bethany has only been to LHH twice and after the holidays plans to come more regularly. Watching Bethany do her thing is a great joy for me as well as with watching every resident she has encountered. One success after another is easy to watch…even with double-vision like I have. She says that she cherishes coming to work with the folks here.
---The quote by Bill Gates fits nicely here, ‘’the computer is the most empowering tool ever invented. Tools for communication, tools for creativity. And, as a tool, is shaped by the user.’’ Bethany says, ’’if you give people the impetus to continue…they will.’’
---My vision is to have a team of people who are savvy with computers. I realize that much of what Bethany did was fundamental, but was made special by her knowledge, demeanor and comfort level on many subjects. Her ability to convey what she was doing was something to behold. Bethany is doing one-on-one visits to be able to see the struggles with computers that some residents may encounter in their own areas.
--- If we can have the supply and demand grow together – amount of laptops needed with the amount of computer coaches needed… and grow in a way that stays aligned with each other…I really feel that we can change many lives for the better. Google - Laguna Honda Computer Club and you will find it. There is nothing overly impressive about the blogsite except for the 150 views it is getting each day. Truthfully…I’m NOT used to this kind of traffic. BUT…I am aware that it is a winning combination, at this point…and has the potential of bringing many folks back to the ‘’land of the living.’’ Take Care.
---If you have any thoughts of volunteering your computer skills and talents, and Laguna Honda Hospital seems possible to you...please call the Volunteer Office at LHH and talk to the coodinator in charge! 415 - 759 - 3333 Volunteer Office.