Can Better Wi-Fi Build Community?

Photo of a smiling woman using a laptop computer at Job Search Club.

SPOILER…YES! It helps foster better connections between people – in a way you might not expect.

by Nadia Heyd,  11 April 2018

Recently, with thanks to the generosity of our long-time friends and donor Dow Canada, The Storefront has made upgrades to our Wi-Fi.  Our building, as you may know, was a Police Substation before it became the vibrant and welcoming community centre that it is today.  At the time the building was constructed, it simply was not designed for modern internet infrastructure.

Overhauling the wiring for the building would have been a costly and very disruptive process. Thankfully, technology has become much more affordable, and we were excited to be able to use a portion of the funds Dow donated to improve internet access for everyone who uses our space.

How is better Wi-Fi building community?

At The Storefront’s Employment Resource Centre, our staff help residents – like Hyacinth, shown above – to develop their computer skills, research employers, write résumés and cover letters, and fill in online employment applications.  Staff also provide emotional support for job searching – both directly in a variety of ways including one-on-one sessions between our staff and job-seekers, and by building a sense of fellowship and community between indviduals who are looking for work.  We might be the only employment centre around who’s thrown a “Job Search Party” with people who visit our centre.  We run a “Job Search Club” twice a week.  Job searching is both supported and social here.

Here’s what one colleague told me about how better Wi-Fi is making a difference:

“Better internet means we are able to help each person more AND to help more people. The internet is faster, so we can work faster. We can have more laptops going at once, and each laptop can handle multiple tabs. Residents can learn more and do more while they are with us, and we can spend less time troubleshooting and fussing around with equipment, and more time building relationships with our community members, and doing things that help them build relationships with each other.  It’s the relationships that make people want to come back.  And when they do, our staff and community members can support them even more.”

Thank you again, Dow Canada, and thank you to all our donors! Your generous contributions help keep the doors open wide so that everyone in our community can access equipment and services, and friendly staff in a welcoming environment.  Your support means that not only do people build skills and find jobs at The Storefront, but they make friends and build a friendly community along the way.

Thank you also to all our community members.  Your can-do attitude and spirit of collaboration makes our neighbourhood a wonderful place to be.


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