Plaza Voices: Exploring New Ways of Talking to One Another
Hi, my name is Will Smith--no not that Will Smith, I’m the OTHER Will Smith! I have been involved with Plaza since the beginning. I’ve mostly been sharing basic computer skills with folks who have little computer experience, or helping people solve specific computer problems.
But really, it has been about learning from all the many participants, from many countries, including my own--about them, their dreams and their adventures. If I wasn’t leading a computer help session, it would be far more illuminating to chat about histories, experiences and dreams. Just hearing these tales excites me enough to want to do more. Though I might think I am “teaching,” it is really an exchange--I share what I know about technology, and they give me renewed enthusiasm. Hopefully, they are discovering new things they can do, and all the while I am getting more excited about moving forward myself.
As Plaza staff, our joy comes from our involvement in the desire to learn new things. It is exciting when folks have the chance to learn and share in the learning. One semester I worked with a group of older men and women from various Central and South American countries. We wandered through using a computer, searching the internet, using email, using chat and using social networks (okay, okay, it was Facebook). Most of them wanted to learn it because their nieces and nephews in various parts of the country and world did not communicate by any other method. It was great to see everyone messaging back and forth electronically, chatting with each other vigorously, and filling the room with laughter.
That is only one of many experiences I’ve had as a Plaza facilitator--the time has been full of laughter, smiles and, on a few occasions, tears. Just tonight we had a good laugh as a student learning Spanish happened to say “I forgot to cry at church.” I’m not sure what he was trying to say, but the Spanish facilitator, the students, and I all had a good laugh about the fun errors we make as we explore new ways of talking to one another.
-- With Will S., Plaza facilitator
Plaza is a meeting place where people from all over the world connect with information, make new friends, and enjoy new experiences, building Denver’s global community.
To find a Plaza program near you, please see our events calendar.