Cape Fear Literacy Council seeks to bridge the digital divide

Cape Fear Literacy Council seeks to bridge the digital divide

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Local non-profit organization, the Cape Fear Literacy Council, is working to help those adults who lack the necessary skills to accomplish important tasks on computer devices, such as filling out a job application or simply sending email messages.

The digital literacy program, known as Computers on Wheels or COWS for short, provides the organization the ability to bring laptops, wireless internet, printers, and other supplies out into the community. The program began with a grant from the New Hanover Women’s Impact Network and has been able to teach around 325 students.

Nancy Woolley, the Adult Literacy Director for the Cape Fear Literacy Council, points out that the majority of the students in the program are about 40 years of age or older, including seniors, who never learned computer training. Wooley explains that she has students who “have owned their own business, but always had an administrative assistant and never really learned how to use the computer themselves, so now they’re in a position all of a sudden where they need that skill set.”

Wooley describes the initial frustration and confusion that many of her students feel towards computers as “digital anxiety.” However, Woolley explains that one of her favorite moments when she teaches is “when you see that student go out and buy a computer because now it’s so exciting and they love working with it, that’s kind of an amazing thing.”

The Cape Fear Literacy Council has partnered with organizations such as Step Up Wilmington and the Good Shepherd Center. The employment counselor at Step Up Wilmington, Deshay Becton has observed many participants in the program overcome employment barriers that had previously hindered their success.

Becton explains that “just being able to see them go from panic mode or being nervous to a sense of calm and knowing that its going to be okay is definitely good.”

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