Inspiring Stories

Meet a Trainer: Johnny Hernandez

Learning Something New, Seeing Something Through

In my experience, the process of learning never seems to stop in every facet of my life. When I graduated from college many years ago, I thought I knew it all. I figured I would simply start a career, work my butt off for the next 25 years, and retire comfortably in good ol’ San Antonio, Texas. Well…didn’t quite work out that way.

My name is Johnny Hernandez. I am a Community Outreach Coordinator/Trainer for OATS and Senior Planet San Antonio. Before I came to be a part of this organization, my career path took many twists and turns…always presenting opportunities to learn something new and see something through.

After these several detours in life, the process of learning definitely continued. For instance, my wife of 10 years is a person with a disability and hasn’t been able to work since 2004. Since she quit working, she hadn’t spent much time in front of a computer. Barely hitting her mid-30s, my wife was feeling a little left out with all the technological advancements that were occurring.

I remember when we had to learn how to use laptops, tablets and smartphones when those devices first came out. But now, my wife is an avid internet user. In fact, we have to limit our time on the internet now just to keep the day from slipping by without us noticing.

Taking the Plunge

Most people find learning something new to be fun and exciting, but a lot of folks can sometimes find it frustrating. Ramon Lopez, a Senior Planet San Antonio Member since 2018 graduating from our Beyond the Basics course, said learning something new has saved him time and money.  “After learning about online shopping, I was able to compare prices for floor tiles from two different store websites, Lowe’s and Home Depot,” said Lopez. “I didn’t even have to leave my house before I knew which ones I wanted to buy.” “Learning can be fun provided it’s done in a non-judgemental, patient and accepting environment,” adds Judy Villarreal, another Senior Planet San Antonio Member, “and Senior Planet has accomplished that.”

Brush Up the Skill Set!

When I began this  job, I realized that there was a lot to brush up on when it came to technology. I had to oil the gears and pulleys when it came to things like better management of my email account, data entry skills, internet research, learning about new apps, and developing a better working knowledge of Microsoft and Google office software.

The best thing about learning and relearning all of this new technology is that it puts the world into the palm of our hands. No matter how old we are, no matter what life experiences we encounter, the process of learning never stops with how this technological world is evolving. “True statement!” points out Jane Chavez, another Senior Planet San Antonio Member.  “No matter what life experiences we have encountered, and SURVIVED, one thing we can all count on is change in both worlds – life and technology. So we need to arm ourselves with courage and hold on tight.”

I was recently in a car accident, leaving my vehicle totalled. For the following few weeks, I had to rely on public transportation. Lucky for me, the public transportation system in San Antonio offers a very user-friendly app that has a great feature where you can easily buy and display daily, weekly and monthly bus passes. I had to learn how to use that app.

For many of our Senior Planet members, the process of learning still continues as it does throughout life, especially when it involves technology.  “Couple technology with a touch of human kindness and interaction…you’ll have a winning combination,” adds Judy Villarreal.  Learning how to work a new app might be challenging at first, but with determination and a little practice, the learning becomes easier. Trust me.

Take This Challenge!

I challenge each and every one of my readers to plan a day trip in their own hometown and follow these steps:

  1. Download an app you have never used before, like Uber or Lyft or any other app for public transportation.

  2. Spend some time learning about the app and all of its features.

  3. Grab a friend and spend the day exploring the city.

  4. Leave me a comment about what you learned and where you went.

  5. Have Fun!

Johnny Hernandez is a Community Outreach Coordinator/Trainer for Older Adults Technology Services (OATS)  and Senior Planet San Antonio.

Photo: Senior Planet students applying newly learned skills during their Beyond the Basics class at the West End Senior Center in San Antonio, TX. From left to right: Pedro Rodriguez, Ramon Lopez and Teri Kilmer. (Photo by Johnny Hernandez)


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