As an assistant captain for his hockey team, Edmonton's Warren Wong knew what it meant to be a leader. He would also coach his brother and his friends, showing them drills to improve their skills.
Due to the pandemic, Warren stepped into a different coaching role; a CNIB Tech Mate volunteer.
After his first year studying at the University of Alberta, he was looking for virtual volunteer opportunities.
“When I was searching online for opportunities, I stumbled across the CNIB website,” Warren. “After doing some reading, I applied to be a volunteer because I believed in the cause.”
This would lead to Warren becoming a Tech Mate, a volunteer who provides one-to-one technology training and support for community members living with sight loss.
“I develop lesson plans for tech users with low vision to help them learn about things like accessibility features on iOS devices, or apps like Seeing AI that help improve the daily lives of people who are blind or partially sighted,” explains Warren.
Since July, Warren has been hosting virtual sessions to teach the ins-and-outs of technology. While the distance can be challenging, he uses a variety of techniques to help others achieve their goals.
“In some cases, the younger participants can show me what they’re doing through streaming apps like Discord,” says Warren. “However, if that’s not an option, I try to describe how I’m navigating through a certain piece of tech, just to paint a picture as best as I can.”
While it’s different from coaching sports, Warren believes there are similarities between that role and his CNIB Tech Mate role.
“As a coach in sports, you have to understand where your players are at. I would never ask someone to do a slapshot if they’re still learning how to shoot a puck,” explains Warren. “People learn things in steps, and everyone learns differently – that’s a fact. Being a coach is helping someone through those steps and figuring out the best way for them to achieve their goals.”
Warren loves seeing how the participants are progressing.
“When I was waiting to hear back from CNIB, my hope was that I could make a positive impact on someone’s life as a volunteer,” says Warren. “Watching someone learn something new, and seeing them realize, 'Wow, look at what I can do,' has been such a rewarding experience.”
If Warren's story inspires you to volunteer with CNIB, apply today.