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Success Story: Ada Wong

Ada Wong

tech|team Manager, Chris Chanhsamone, and Ada Wong

The Vancouver Community Network would not be able to fill our organizational mandate to serve, engage, and improve public access and knowledge of the Internet and information communications technologies without the help of our dedicated volunteers.

VCN’s help|desk assists members and the general public from 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday right here at Woodward’s. Many who seek help are from the Downtown Eastside. The staff and volunteers help by trouble-shooting hardware and software challenges associated with setting up a computer, training on a variety of software packages and internet applications, and troubleshooting for any of our VCN services such as using dial up internet access, email, mailing lists, and web hosting for individual accounts and for group accounts.

The majority of help|desk volunteers are youth interns from BCIT and UBC along with recent immigrants/refugees looking for in-country experience, training, and career development support. In 2015, 26 volunteers with diverse backgrounds worked over 3000 hours to offer our community members technical support.

Ada Wong, former RN practitioner and help|desk volunteer, shares her experience at VCN:

How did you become involved with VCN?
I was introduced to VCN while attending university from one of my best high school friends. I was told VCN provides free computer support and free electronic mail. Sold, I became a VCN member right away.

In what capacity are you involved with VCN?
Officially, I became an active volunteer with VCN on and off the past 5 years or so while I was advancing my knowledge about nursing and technology. Professionally, I needed to keep up-to-date, and keep my computer free from various software viruses and learn where to go to purchase computer hardware at an affordable price. VCN helped me tremendously by enhancing my basic technical knowledge about computer hardware and software to the point that I was able to answer basic computer inquires, teach others about the use of computers, and design and create my own professional webpage.

What motivated you to give your time to the organization?
VCN has the right resources and helps many individuals, small businesses, and non-profit organizations across Metro Vancouver, and does so in a charitable way. VCN requires some core staff, volunteers, generous donors, and grants to keep its charitable services up and running. I’m thankful to VCN for helping me save my computer from the recycle bin a few times!

What have you learned from working with VCN?
VCN helped me a lot, [the] people are kind, and I was given the opportunity to share my nursing knowledge and skills back to others by helping them with their computer inquiries and by sharing my knowledge about health/wellness questions. Some of VCN walk-ins require some basic knowledge and life skills before they could start their path to health and wellness, to look for productive employment, and to maintain a stable and caring friendship and relationship with others.

VCN taught me how to research mine and others’ inquires about computer hardware and software. Chris, Nhan, Patrick, and Tracey had been immensely helpful to me in their feedback during my learning process. From VCN, I learned how to respond to technical questions; how to answer e-mail and telephone inquiries using web request tracker; and ways to teach and manage walk-in inquiries at VCN, at 411 Seniors Centre Society, and at the Vancouver Public Library. In addition, I learned how to approach and teach basic computer usage to all kinds of people; how to manage and set-up basic computer hardware; and how to use various operating systems and software.

What type of knowledge have you been able to impart on to community members?
Over the years, I [have] met lots of people from VCN and from 411 Seniors Centre Society. Generally, they are interested in using the computer for writing e-mails to loved ones, for on-line shopping, for watching movies, for researching travel and leisure, or health and wellness.

VCN introduced me to their Street Messaging System [] – this platform allowed me to communicate health and wellness information to receivers across Metro Vancouver, and to apply my nursing expertise with those who may benefit from my nursing knowledge and skills.

How has volunteering helped you in your life?
My current success is because of what I have shared and what others have shared back to me – unconditionally – I believe this is what volunteering is all about. I definitely encourage those who are interested in computers and technology to volunteer at VCN – you only get as much out of it as what you put into it. Thank-you VCN and 411 Seniors Centre Society for taking me in as a volunteer!