Inspiring Stories

Meet the Trainer: Michelle Sanchez

Over the six years that Michelle Sanchez has worked as a technology trainer for Senior Planet in NYC, she has mastered the art of making people feel comfortable while they try something new. She’ll often tell her students or – as she would call them – her family, “let’s get frustrated together.” 

Outside of work, Michelle is a devoted mother of two who volunteers at her kids’ school to connect other parents with resources for kids with disabilities. We talked with Michelle about her time at Senior Planet, the Spanish Club and how she’s celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with pride. 

 

What’s your favorite part of being a Senior Planet trainer? 

All these students, all these beautiful people, come to Senior Planet to learn about technology because often as older adults they feel left out – like technology is taking over. But with the help of our classes, they can go to the doctor and use a tablet to sign in. Or go to their center and be able to use a computer to send an email to family and friends. That is what makes me happy – that they are actually learning and that they continue to learn.  

I always tell them, “I’m just here for a little bit – you have to continue on your own.” And they do! I know because they stay in touch with me. The love is mutual. 

The love is mutual. 

What is like running the Spanish Club? 

It’s grown so fast! The club started virtually with 3 or 5 people and now we’re hybrid and get 25 or 30 people every week. The participants are always spreading the word about it and bragging about how great it is. I have people from all around the world joining – people from Panama, Brazil, Minnesota, everywhere. 

 

What would a typical Spanish Club session look like? 

Every week is different but we always have a discussion topic so they can learn the language and practice new vocabulary. Some weeks are more about grammar or verbs but one week we did karaoke. We do a lot of fun stuff! 

Some participants are proficient Spanish speakers, and some are just beginners. But no matter the language level, I think I’ve created a community that is like a family – we treat each other with respect.  

I’m proud of my culture and I think it’s a good thing to celebrate where you come from 

What is the significance of Hispanic Heritage Month to you? 

I’m proud of my culture and I think it’s a good thing to celebrate where you come from. People ask all the time – what is culture for you? For me it’s a lot of things. It’s food, it’s family, it’s friends. It’s sharing ideas, supporting each other and lifting each other up. 

Pam Hugi is Senior Planet’s Community and Advocacy Manager. Based in Brooklyn, she runs Senior Planet’s Supporter program in addition to being a contributing writer for this site. She can be reached at supporters@seniorplanet.org.

COMMENTS

16 responses to “Meet the Trainer: Michelle Sanchez

  1. This is a lovely hour of practicing Spanish – learning some Spanish culture – meeting some terrific folks who come to this virtual group from all parts of the U.S. and Canada as well. An opportunity to increase our expertise whatever our level of Spanish. Michelle is carinosa and maravillosa. Thank you Michelle for making this a fun and stimulating experience!! Happy Healthy Autumn of 2022 to all.

  2. Michelle provides a welcoming and fun atmosphere – it is a lovely hour and opportunity to gain more vocabulary and Spanish language skills. All the folks who want to practice their Espanol in a fun warm atmosphere join in and we learn, we laugh and we enjoy. No matter what level of expertise – persons pop up for that hour from various regions of the U.S. – Canada etc. (You never know :-). Thank You Michelle – you are carinosa and maravillosa!! Garcias por esta hora special.

  3. I am very greatfull to Mrs. michelle Sanchez for her’s dedication to teach us
    about the computers class. I did learn some important things that I need it
    to learn. May God keep using her to help other. May God bless her and her’s
    family with greats blessing.

  4. Michelle Sanchez is the best teacher I ever had from Oats. I have taken other classes over the years at other centers and is the most friendly, kind and sincere in how she teaches her class.
    She exemplify the best in professionlism.
    Thank you for sharing her with our class. Please if possible can she return to elevate us to the next level.
    Our class is full because of her.

    Thank you hearing me.

  5. Ms. Sanchez has been a wonderful teacher, very patient & informative, making sure we all in her class understand the lesson before she moves on. I wasn’t surprised to read that volunteers at her kids’ school to connect other parents with resources for kids with disabilities – she has a generous spirit, and she just so natural that I know that she’ll never lose that. I don’t know how she has the time or energy to be involved in everything what with two young, active children, your family & job.

  6. Ms. Sanchez is wonderful. She has helped me a lot to learn how to use the computer. What a wondrful soul! She has made me feel so comfortable with a computer and made it very easy to understand. I hope she can come back to help us with the next class level. I will always keep in touch with her. She is now part of family. She will forever be in my life, wherever she is.
    Thank you Ms. Sanchez for everything. “May God bless you and your family, Amen.”

  7. I have been taking the computer class at 900 Grand Concourse Senior Center.
    Ms. Sanchez is the instructor and she is FABULOUS!!
    I am impressed with the preparation she takes and her English/Spanish is so fantastic!
    What a blessing is is to have Ms. Sanchez with us and I hope I can take an advanced class with her in the future!!
    Warmest…….Linda Lane Smith

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