Thursday, 23 July 2015

Man Brings Tech Classes to Refugees

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Man Brings Tech Classes to Refugees Photo by Shay Sowden flickr.com/photos/gigaboss/

Many of us walk around with cell phones with more computing power than NASA’s Voyager I space probe, developed for deep space exploration. Technology is used in many people’s personal and work lives—but not everyone is familiar with it.

Volunteer Helps Refugees

One Catholic Charities volunteer, Steve Schmidt, decided to share his knowledge of technology with others. He is helping refugees, without computer skill experience, to learn to use technology to find jobs.

Many refugees come to America with little more than a suitcase, escaping the persecution and peril from their homelands—earning money is essential in rebuilding their lives. Catholic Charities refugee resettlement program helps these men, women and children by picking them up from the airport, helping them find a place to live and enrolling children in school as well as connecting them with English classes. They are also helping men and women to learn skills to find work.

Volunteer to Help Others

​In the process of becoming a deacon with the Diocese of Phoenix—Schmidt wanted to also serve his community and help others. He decided to partner with Catholic Charites to teach a series of computer classes over a six-month period for refugees. The classes started in October 2014 and will continue until April 2015.

“Clients are being empowered with computer literacy skills, aimed at using a computer to find work,” said Daniel Kelly, program manager for the refugee program. “This includes on how computers work, using the Internet to search for jobs, using a computer to apply for a job online, creating and uploading resumes to online applications and more.”

Refugees Learn Life Skills

In addition to the computer skills, clients are also learning valuable life skills including navigating the city’s transportation system and time management. Perhaps, most importantly, they are practicing their English, both written and verbal, which will have a lasting impact on their families.

The Refuge Café donated the use of their conference room for the classes. Clients who complete the 60 hours of classes will celebrate their accomplishments by receiving a working laptop.

This class would not be possible without the partnership between the Diocese of Phoenix, The Refuge Café, and Catholic Charities’ programs for refugee resettlement, unaccompanied minors and parish and community engagement—and Schmidt as the teacher.

If you would like to make a difference, like Schmidt, learn more about how to become a volunteer with Catholic Charities or send a gift to our refugee program.

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