Two sisters have reconnected with a long-lost cousin through NTEN's Digital Inclusion Fellowship. Illustration: Amanda Calvin, VaVa Virtual.
September 27, 2018

New connections reunite sisters with lost family

With more than 30 million Americans shut out from the internet access and skills we take for granted, it’s often hard to fathom the scope of digital inclusion challenges.

For one NTEN Digital Inclusion Fellow, the change is positive, long-lasting, and intensely personal.

Evert Keller from the Austin Public Library was recently approached by two elderly sisters who needed basic computer skills training to help them crack a very old mystery.

Their challenge was to track down a long-lost and beloved cousin, he said, for whom they had been searching for a very long time.

“They had shared many great memories as children, but lost contact in their 20s,” he said.

Through the library’s basic computer skills training and his support, the sisters were able to track down and find a working phone number for their lost cousin and get back in touch.

Evert says making a difference in people’s lives is the best part of his career in digital inclusion.

“I like to think if everything in the world was right, none of us would ever have to feel closed off from the resources we need to realize our goals. Through work, such as helping reunite these women, I am able to advance what I believe in every day.”

Evert is part of NTEN’s Digital Inclusion Fellowship cohort for 2018 and is part of the Austin Public Library team that offers walk-in support for people learning word processing and bookkeeping programs, as well as basic computer skills and jobseeker training.

The Digital Inclusion Fellowship is currently looking for supporters, and there are many ways to get involved. Find out more about the fellowship and the ways you can support digital inclusion.

 

Evert Keller
I began my digital inclusion career teaching web design classes to government workers in the South American nation of Suriname. Since then I have worked towards a society where everyone can competently use technology to access and interpret information. I have worked with a number of non-profits and have been with Austin Public Library doing digital inclusion work for over 5 years now.
Drew Pizzolato
Drew is committed to building pathways to digital access and digital literacy. Through his participation in a series of related projects, from managing a multi-state digital literacy initiative under the BTOP program to researching the ways locally responsive programming shape the digital literacy acquisition process to tutoring clinic patients in a health related technology training project, Drew has been lucky to see first hand the positive impact that learning to use technology can have on adults lives. He believes that as technology becomes increasingly embedded in everyday tasks, the importance of creating opportunities for everyone to have access and training only grows. Drew comes to NTEN from the Literacy, Language and Technology Research group at Portland State University. In past lives he has worked as a line cook and as a seller of cookbooks.