Shadora Ford Asks, “What is the Barrier?”
Shadora Ford wants to help families not just survive but thrive. As Connect 313’s Special Projects and Shared Resources chair she provides education, training, and resources to connect the public with essential technology to help bridge the digital divide.
In 2010, at just 19 years old, Shadora founded Destined for Greatness, a Detroit-based organization that educates, encourages, and empowers young women to become strong leaders. To date, Destined for Greatness has helped more than 5,000 young women and served more than 10,000 families through mentoring, job training, food drives, and more.
“In order for a house to stand you have to fix the foundation,” said Shadora. “We’re helping fulfill the destiny of households, not just women, but all families and people.”
A few years ago, Shadora began conducting research studies to learn more about Detroit’s digital divide. “Is the barrier the devices, the connectivity, or is it the literacy of the individual?” she said. “Research shows it’s a mix.”
Which meant the approach had to be multifaceted. She’s teaching students Microsoft Office, showing seniors how to utilize technology to take part in telehealth appointments and send emails, and connecting veterans to digital resources.
“Some people say they don’t want to use digital technology because it’s too much, but that’s fear. I want people to get over the fear by teaching them and finding creative ways to do that,” said Shadora.
Looking ahead, Shadora wants to see all seven districts thrive with digital literacy programs. She plans to expand her research and outreach to ensure Detroiters know tech assistance is available.
“Being here for the past 30 years and loving the community made me want to be an ambassador,” said Shadora. “I want Detroiters to love Detroit and take care of Detroit, love the place they live and be connected.”
To reach Shadora, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 313-414-3680.