Love grows when shared; so does knowledge. The story of two Mexican women tells it all.
Antonieta Petriz, 65 years old, is a divorced mother with two sons. She made up her mind to learn computer skills, and started with a program in León City. However, “the class was excellent but they went too fast,” said Petriz. After two months she decided to find another program that suits her capacity. She did some research and found three options, but none of them would accept a student at her age. “I was old,” she said with a self-deprecating smile.
Being discouraged by all the places she visited, Petriz only became more desperate to find an ideal program. “Everyday when I wake up, I cheer myself and tell myself to look for more options,” she said. “We are in an age with so many technology advantages that knowing how to use a computer has become an essential skill, and the capacity of using most current software is required by almost every job opportunity.”
It was often amazing how things work out. “One day I was sitting on a square and eating ice cream, and then I saw an advertisement with a message, saying ‘computer classes,’” Petriz recalled. “At that time I was demoralized due to being turned down by every place I visited. I felt lost. But for some reason I felt that I got to the right place this time!”
That is how Petriz got to the ADOC center in Guanajuato. “I was warmly welcomed when I got there.”
At the ADOC center, Petriz found just what she needed. She got plenty of support. “They fully understand my learning limitation, like my age.” she laughed.
At the beginning of the computer class she had a lot of issues with that machine sitting in front of her. Even so she felt warmly welcomed at the center. “At the ADOC center there were people of all ages. There are children, youngsters, adults, and seniors.
I know my ability to learn is not like the children but I felt very happy to see that the instructors understand each one of us. They dedicated their time to explain everything in detail for us,” said Petriz. “I even took the basic course twice. Nobody had a problem with that.”
Little by little she picked up computer skills. “Now I feel fully confident to move forward as the courses continue.”
“I was so happy, because I finally found the right place to learn computer skills, a place that suit my needs and make me feel comfortable,” she said. “Here I don’t feel rejected anymore. I feel accepted and understood. I feel that I belong to the group. In addition to learning computer skills, I make several friends, and we go out for coffee and share our experience about the center or things not related to the center.”
“I think the ADOC is the best place to learn computer skills, for children and for seniors like me,” said Petriz. “Now when I meet people who don’t use a computer, I tell them I used to be computer illiterate, but now I can use a computer! I never miss a single chance to recommend the program to my family and friends.”
“People in my age might think they don’t have the ability to learn to use a computer, or don’t have the necessity to use computer. They are making a mistake. They should all come to the ADOC. It is better late than never,” said Petriz.
Petriz is not alone. Elizabeth Valdivia González, another woman who took part in the ADOC project, totally agrees with her.
Elizabeth González joined a group of professors from Sonora Institute of Technology, or Instituto Tecnológico de Sonora (ITSON), and started to work as an instructor at an ADOC at the end of 2010, when the institute started to teach adults computer skills as a community service.
Most of students of González’s were senior citizens. “I keep telling them it is never too late to learn,” said González. She especially enjoyed seeing her students’ growth and hearing them saying, “thank you for what you have taught me.”
“Some of my students would say, ‘please help me…there is no one in my house that pays attention to me.’ And this is exactly why we brought the computer training program to the community as a service.” said González. “We want to let all those who attend the program feel that they are warmly welcomed and their future is secured.”
Many of González’s students have found job opportunities after taking the training courses. González considered the fact as a proof that the senior citizens are able to be self-sufficient and find better jobs, as long as they get proper support to improve their computer knowledge and skills.
“Our motto here is that ‘knowledge is love, grows when shared.’ And we will continue to share all of our knowledge and experience with whoever needs it!” said González.