Before taking part in the Distance Computer Comfort Program, Zosia wasn’t aware of what all she could do on the computer.
She explains: “When people said ‘I found this [information] on the computer,’ I’d be like, ‘How can you do that? I can’t find anything on the computer.’ I didn’t know how to [Google] search because nobody ever taught me.
“Now I can.”
Having had polio at six months old – not walking until she was three years old – Zosia was inspired to become a physiotherapist (opens in a new window), a career which she then practiced for over 25 years.
In 2001, she began using a wheelchair after a surgery gone wrong. She changed careers afterwards, becoming an insurance broker.
A resident of Langley, BC since 1985 and passionate about the well-being of people with disabilities, Zosia founded the Langley Pos-Abilities Society (opens in a new window) in 2010. Along with spreading awareness of living with disabilities, Langley Pos-Abilities accepts donations of used assistive technology and refurbishes them for people with disabilities.
As Executive Director of the society, Zosia has to do a lot of presentations, which requires the use of computers. A previous program participant at Neil Squire, she found out about the Distance Computer Comfort Program and figured it could be a great help to her.
“I had a little bit of a grasp [of computer programs before], but my presentations were pretty basic,” she says. “I had nothing flying in or flying out or turning around, or putting in a video – mine was just titles on a slide. Boring, right? I don’t know how to use half of these programs, like Excel (opens in a new window) and PowerPoint (opens in a new window), and I have to do lots of public presentations.
“One of my goals was to become proficient,” she continues. “I used to be afraid to try certain things, because I was sure if I tried something I’d lose it or mess it up. So that was very difficult for me.”
Zosia was paired up with Distance Computer Comfort volunteer Jason as her tutor.
“People learn in different ways,” Zosia explains. “The distance learning program somehow matched me with a very interesting person, who was very much in tune to how I learned and how to help me. I was really impressed. I mean, you’re on the phone for two hours at a time, so I was able to learn so much in that time. And at the same time I was able to say I really need to learn this right now, or can I do that later. I certainly was able to tailor-make the plan.”
Jason says about his student, “She has so much energy, and she just tackled so much. It got advanced very fast. I was very impressed to see her grow that quickly.”
Zosia feels a lot more comfortable on the computer now, and says she “definitely” recommends the Distance Computer Comfort Program to others.
“It’s changed my approach to technology,” she explains. “I can use a lot more, I don’t mind looking for things.”