Digital Bridges Pittsburgh was formed in 2017 by Constance (Connie) Capiotis. Her work with the Social Media Advisory Counsel led to an inkling about a much larger issue...we are all walking around with these devices containing some of our most sensitive personal information, but no one is really teaching us how they work or how to be safe and effective in our use of technology.
Think about it like driving a car. You don't see a car for the first time and immediately speed down the highway. You have to learn the rules of the road, how to operate the vehicle, how to navigate the world with this large metallic piece of technology. This technology can take you everywhere you want to go, explore places and learn things you otherwise wouldn't be able to access, but the flip side is that the road can be dangerous, life threateningly dangerous.
Yet, few of us refuse to ride in cars because of the danger. Instead, we learn how to be most effective and safe on the road, what to do in case of emergency, and go about our lives.
Digital Bridges Pittsburgh’s mission is to close the digital divide and build vibrant communities by using technology and digital literacy skills to reduce poverty, build equity, encourage individualized learning, improve employability, and nurture strong social connections.
We help people build better lives by providing access to common technology, training people to effectively and safely use online resources, then guiding them via mentorship to pathways to their individual success goals.
To us this mission means a few things:
- Listen. Meet people where they are in terms of their needs. Technology training is always part of the picture, but this may start by helping people with things like finding a job, or a better place to live.
- Safety First. Help people understand how their technology works, think critically about its use, and the safety measures necessary to protect their data and identity online.
- Ask questions like "What lights you up? What do you want to do?" Then help them do it.
- Be practical. Everything we do is focused on real world applications for technology and helping people use it in practical, safe ways. We believe that solid computer skills and business skills are the two most enabling skill sets we can provide. So that's what we teach. It's that simple.
- Meet people where they are. This means two things: First, we are a mobile organization. Our mobile computer lab (including laptops and a mobile hotspot) means that we can teach anywhere. Transportation and access to technology is no longer a hurdle. Second, we meet people where they are in terms of their skill set and their life needs. Only by embracing the present and building a solid foundation are we able to truly help build the individual. We live at the intersection of people and technology.