Each year, our Good Neighbor Awards honor some of the dedicated neighbors who volunteer their time to help seniors and people with disabilities get the resources and support they need to age and thrive in their own homes and neighborhoods. We are delighted to honor Victor as our 2018 Good Neighbor Honoree for the Computers and Access.
Victor Lam didn’t expect that he would work with computers. A shy, self-taught computer geek, Victor just wanted a job. But one day walking through his neighborhood, he noticed Excelsior Works! (a neighborhood job placement program) and decided to “check it out.” There he met Wanda Liu, a CLC staff person working part-time at the center. Wanda, never one to let a resource go untapped, asked Victor if he’d be interested in helping out in her computer classes.
When Wanda realized the extent of Victor’s skills, she suggested he apply for the ReServe office position at Excelsior Works! Of course, he was hired.
More Than Just a Computer Geek
Victor’s job description has expanded since those early days. While he still assists Wanda with computer classes at the Excelsior Senior Center, Victor also supports the job placement effort at Excelsior Works!, “I help with resumes, cover letters, completing online job applications, and looking for jobs online.”
With a big smile he added, “we just placed four stock associates at Banana Republic.”
Job placement is not the only service the Center offers, nor the extent of Victor’s involvement. Victor helps seniors’ complete applications for housing and uses his language skills to translate documents from English to Chinese.
There’s also record keeping. Victor tracks clients and expenses on Google sheets, and is the go-to guy for troubleshooting computer glitches.
“It’s important to me to be able to help others,” he said. “It gives me pleasure, and I like the constant thanks. Friends say I’m happier now too, I laugh at their jokes.”