If you want to learn how to navigate the internet, just stop by the Joseph M. Tierney Learning Center and introduce yourself to Jose Sotz, who is the center’s program technology coordinator. Youngsters and adults alike are welcome to use the state-of-the-art computers at the center. And the services provided are free to everyone in the South Boston community.
Sotz provides technical support such as how to set up emails and how to use and install programs. He teaches kids and adults how to use the internet to their advantage. He shows them how to digitally roam around the community, for example, how to access the Mayor’s website or the Boston Public School’s web track, video chatting with friends, searching for local news, and understand real time messaging. He also assists in professional resume building and job referrals.
In addition to providing technical support, Sotz manages the building and oversees the after-school youth program. The Tierney Learning Center partners with other agencies such as the South Boston Boys and Girls Club, ABCD, BCYF, the local health center, as well as programs such as the Young Ambassador’s initiative. He supervises the teen employment program and the center provides teens with work experience in conjunction with their partners. This interagency cooperation results in better services to those they serve.
Sotz grew up in Cambridge and attended Cambridge Rindge and Latin before graduating from UMass, Dartmouth in 2007. He majored in the humanities and the social sciences with a minor in Spanish. He worked in the private sector for a few years, but in 2012, he became a full time employee at the center. He knew he belonged and had found a home on Mercer Street.
Sotz is a smart, enthusiastic young man who simply loves his job.
“I’ve always loved working with kids,” he said. “I worked a couple of summers with kids with special disabilities and knew I wanted to do more work like that. They’re good to work with. Kids appreciate you for what you do for them. It’s like unconditional love.
“We provide a positive place where they can learn and feel safe,” Sotz added. “And working here makes me feel good about myself. It’s not about the money or the glamour. Doing a good job and helping people is the most enjoyable part. It’s rewarding in itself. I try hard every day and feel like I’m making a difference.
“There was an outcry from the community that the adults wanted help so we expanded the program to include them,” he further stated. “Adults can walk into the center between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. to use our computers. If they want individual help I provide one-on-one’s by appointment. I love being part of this community. I enjoy walking down the street and interacting with the adults. They ask me questions about different matters and I provide them with a lot of information they can use to better their lives. It’s great to feel wanted. I just love working here with the kids as well as the adults. It’s a family thing. and people in the community are very welcoming and accepting.”
Kristin Taylor, Director of the Joseph M. Tierney Leaning Center, realizes how fortunate she is having such a dedicated employee.
“Jose has been a valued member of the Tierney team for several years,” Taylor said “His commitment to the community and the youth he serves is apparent every day. Jose is a dedicated, compassionate, and persistent force who is a role model and advocate for all.
“I have been very lucky to have such a supportive and enthusiastic colleague,” she added. “…and learn from Jose every day about looking at things in a positive way. He is the best!”
(For additional information about their computer programs, contact Jose Sotz @ 617-850-9157.)