Great Story: Dolores

Great Stories are written by Guiding Ohio Online AmeriCorps Members about their service.

Dolores is one of the most gentle, humble women I have ever met.   I first met her in October 2015, and on that day, she informed me that “I’ll be slow to catch on, but I want to learn.”  And Dolores continues to fulfill her desire week after week, as she faithfully attends our sessions and practices what she learns in the interim.

            Her experience with computers was mostly non-existent.  In fact, despite owning a computer and paying for Internet access at home, the most experience she ever had with computers was when she was applying for work at JCPenney.  The adage we were taught during training (“don’t worry, you can’t break the computer”) was unfortunately true for Dolores at that time—the register crashed and refused to boot up again.  This experience was painful and embarrassing for Dolores at the time, though 10 years later, we shared a laugh at the memory of her shopping in that store a month after the ill-fated interview and seeing an “Out of Order” sign still posted on the register.  In retrospect, Dolores admitted that that experience had frightened her away from learning more about technology, even though she A) knew it was becoming a cultural necessity and B) really wanted to learn.

            Delores’s first appointment was a basic introduction into turning the computer on and off, using the touchpad, and becoming accustomed to the keyboard.  She quickly moved on to opening Chrome and browsing online, and then to setting up her account.  Now, after seven months together, Delores can log onto her account on her own.  She has set up a account and successfully downloaded then used digital coupons using her phone number at the register.  And she has proudly viewed her childhood home on Google Street View. 

            Dolores always says she has a long way to go, though I tell her all the time how I proud I am of the progress she’s made.  One hurdle she faces is that she is still using an old operating system, but she’s made plans to purchase a new laptop as soon as she’s able.  Her capabilities now, compared to when we first met, are dramatically improved.  In addition, we have forged a friendship that has enriched both our lives.  I know that for years to come, on Monday afternoons I’ll smile and remember spending that regular time with Dolores, watching her show off her newly-perfected skills.   

-Amber Hawkins