Finalist category: Tech Volunteer of the Year
Finalist, Tech Volunteer of the Year Award, 2017
From home-visit volunteer to technology trainer
Many people with sight loss believe their visual impairment excludes them from using technology. This tech volunteer finalist is showing people with visual impairments that this simply isn’t true.
The RNIB were lucky enough to come across Christine Dodds, who also has a visual impairment, during one of their own training sessions.
“Christine was already using a Smartphone and talked with passion about its benefits for visually impaired people,” said Philip, the RNIB Assistive Technology Coordinator who first met her.
“I suggested volunteering to Christine because I felt she communicated this passion very well and would be great at promoting the benefits of technology, as well as helping teach people.”
It’s her unique combination of kindness and technical knowledge that makes this tech volunteer stand out from the crowd. “I enjoy using technology, and I was a nurse for 26 years, so just like helping people,” said Christine.
Initially a home-visit volunteer, she spotted a need for group technology learning sessions and started to run them. They cover everything from specialist assistive devices to how to use Facebook. She has also run sessions as part of RNIB’s ‘Living With Sight Loss’ courses. This reach and range of voluntary activities is incredible, and all stems from Christine’s own passion for technology and helping others.
“I feel it’s important to keep abreast of technology and how it works.” To keep up with new innovations she listens to magazines and podcasts to expand her technical knowledge and has been a regular attendee at the RNIB’s own monthly tech webinars.
Visiting people with visual impairments, she helps people to set up new devices and explore their accessibility settings for the first time. She listens to what people need and gives them great advice.
This last year she worked with over 30 customers. One client, Madeline, had no idea what a computer could do before Christine helped her.
When someone with sight loss becomes confident in using technology, the benefits can be life changing. Christine supports her customers generously, with knowledge, patience and commitment. By sharing her skills she’s empowering people and giving them greater independence.
One of the RNIB customers told them, “I give her ten out of ten for everything!” and so do they!