Pathfinder Victoria Coverson-Baxter: Exceptional Community Networker

Submitted by Ila Langner on Wed, 01/13/2021 - 10:00 PM
Victoria Coverson Baxter in a fedora.

Pathfinder is a series of blogs about intrepid library staff who are leading interesting programs that you may not yet know about.

Victoria Coverson-Baxter, a former teacher, describes herself today as a teacher and learner.

Victoria is the Family Learning Coordinator at Dr. Roberto Cruz Alum Rock Library.  San Jose Public Library has seven Family Learning Centers.  These centers serve as a vital literacy and life skill link to their community by providing free programs and services to families and individuals.

As a teacher, Victoria understands the mechanisms of learning environments.  Her goal as a coordinator is to provide an opportunity for everyone to learn in a safe space.  She believes that every student is entitled to create their “own learning path.”

Victoria is especially gifted with being able to leverage valuable partnerships.

Leveraging Partnerships

When Victoria sees a participant who may have a valuable skill to share, she will ask that participant to share their knowledge in another program!

Among Victoria’s many interests is an ingrained interest in working with seniors and active adults.  She says, “They have so much to give back.”  Therefore, when she learned that many of her active adult customers were struggling with technology at the library, she created a program called Tech Time for Active Adults

In January 2020, Victoria spoke with staff from Evergreen Community Center, which is part of the City of San Jose’s Park and Recreation Department, to find an instructor who would be willing to volunteer as a teacher for a senior technology class.

Originally, the plan was to run the program once a month, but when the pandemic struck, the plan evolved into a weekly Zoom class called Tech Time for Active Adults (pre-registration is required.)

Instructor My Nguyen is wonderful and patient.  Each week, he covers new material or reviews prior lessons.

Tech Time for Active Adults

Tech Time for Active Adults runs each Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

I observed one of the classes, which was about using online calendars and creating postcards.  Here is the general format each week:

  • Question and Answer on Tech Issues:  if questions are general, My discusses with everyone or if questions are user-specific, he talks to the participant later.

  • First topic:  Either a previous lesson review or a new lesson.

  • Alternatives:  My presents a few options for doing the lesson.  For instance, he presented two websites that have postcard options: Canva.com, (you create the postcard, but must mail it yourself) OR Postable.com (you create and Postable mails.)

  • He repeats demonstrations to reinforce learning.

  • My presents pros and cons for each alternative.

  • Recaps the lessons.

  • My ends with a question and answer period.

At the end of the session, My asks the participants to help choose the next Tech topic by having participants fill out a form on Google Docs about what they would like to cover next.

Testimonials

The success of this program lies in the return of each of the eight core students each week.  Each student has a voice in this class and if they need something, all they have to do is ask.

Victoria believes that students return because:

  1. They have a place where they feel safe and

  2. They are receiving information that they need.

Here are some of the positive results:

  • Participants have the opportunity to experience a range of tech devices (iPhone, iPads, Nooks, Kindles, laptops…) while receiving virtual support and practice with a trained tech, My.

  • It’s like playing in a “tech-sandbox!”

  • Growth of participants

One student comments:

“I really enjoyed today’s class, Tech Assistance for Active Adults!  It’s a non-threatening environment that was comfortable to follow. The instructor is kind and carefully explains how to navigate the internet.  Looking forward to next week’s class.”

Please send me any questions in the comments section below!

Blog Category
Adult Nonfiction

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