During Sept – July, Youth in Focus executed new digital photography projects with other local youth organizations, Friends of the Children, Cleveland High School, Rainier Scholars, and Treehouse. Over the course of the project, 50 youth used computers and technology in creative ways. They gained the sense that technology is a tool to help them express themselves, not just something they react to or that is defined by other people’s rules as with a video game.
During April – June, Neighborhood House has continued the Digital Connectors program at the Rainier Vista Computer Lab. They also added an I-BEST Technology Bridge class provided by Seattle Central Community College and an ESL basic class taught by a volunteer.
Some of the students in the class included young men recently arrived from Eritrea that utilized the class as a transition into American society. Muruts was a student in his twenties and had only been in the United States for about 5 months before starting the I-Bridge class. Muruts said he enrolled to gain “more knowledge, to learn English and how to look for work.” After learning the basic skills of using “Microsoft Word documents, saving documents, and searching online for work” he says he now feels more comfortable in Seattle. The class has helped him learn to “fill applications and write letters. This helps me find work.”
The I-BEST Bridge class was diverse not only in peoples’ origins but also in their skill levels. Kassu was a more advanced student originally from Ethiopia who has a computer at home but was challenged by trying to learn technology through “trial and error” method. As a Nursing Assistant the skills he learned in class help him at work and he is better at using programs like Microsoft Word. He says the class helped because “practice is the main thing” and he was able to both practice and learn new skills. While he thought he would not need the English taught during class it has proven to be a good “refresher”. Ultimately Kassu has used the class as a bridge; he says it “has pushed me to think about more class.” He is currently thinking about joining the I-BEST program at Seattle Central Community College or taking online classes. He would like to work in the Information Technology field someday. He says he is “dying to learn about it since it has so many applications.”
The Tech Center was also busy with many other activities during this period. They expanded hours to include 12 hours of open lab time per month. The staff also facilitated two Basic Computer Skills training classes for Home Care Aides from Service Employee International Union (SEIU). The lab provided space for the King County Work Training Program – Greenlight Project to help students to learn how to search for jobs and prepare resumes. They also offered a Free Tax Prep Workshop in April for people in the community to come in and get assistance to complete their income taxes.
Learn more about the 2010 Technology Matching Fund grantees at http://seattle.gov/tech/tmf/Projects2010.htm
With Technology Matching Funds the First Tee of Greater Seattle added new camcorders and IMacs to their First Tee Learning Center. The 105 students in the program are using the new technology in a variety of ways. Students are learning video skills to create “goal ladders” to assess their current positions and set attainable goals based on where they want to be in the future. In addition to using the computers to learn job readiness skills, First Tee Mentors and mentees are using iMovie software to record their experiences. The “Girls Club” classes created a “She Rocks” video. Learn more about the 2010 Technology Matching Fund grantees at http://seattle.gov/tech/tmf/Projects2010.htm .
This post is the third in a series of “TMF Success Stories,” featuring updates on Technology Matching Fund recipients.
The North Seattle Family Center (NSFC), one of the locations of the Children’s Home Society of Washington (CHSW), is home to the only computer lab in Lake City offering free computer classes. Meeting this responsibility head-on, the NSFC applied for a Technology Matching Fund grant to revitalize their aging computer lab. They purchased four desktop PCs, a laptop PC, and a Mac computer. Additionally, they outfitted each station with headphones and a flash drive. With their new software and hardware, they were ready to serve the community and expand their programming.
The NSFC typically serves clients who are low income or very low income, with almost half having limited or no English skills. To help families succeed, the NSFC is particularly dedicated to improving life skills for clients, teaching them employment skills and workplace English.
Beyond the purchase and installation of the new equipment, NSFC staff created programming to match the needs of the community. NSFC’s training resources are centered on basic computer skills, job readiness, and English language learning. NSFC also provides resources to lab users looking for help with budgeting, parenting, and homework.
Training and pointing clients to resources
Joy Scott, lab coordinator, took the initiative to create a website for lab participants using Googlesites, a free online website building tool. On the home page, participants can choose from lists (separated into For Adults, For Kids, and Everyone) titled: “What do you want to do today?” Lab participants can choose from Budgeting, Computing Skills, English Language Learning, and Job Readiness, among many other topics. Each topic page lists a broad range of resources for interactive tutorials on everything from using Microsoft Word to learning English grammar rules to building a resume.
NSFC collaborates with other service providers and educators in the community, specifically partnering with English language programs at the North Seattle Community College and the Literacy Council.
Currently, the NSFC has programming aimed at meeting the specific needs of various groups, including: Seniors, youth, English Language Learners, and both the Latino and East African communities that reside in the Lake City area.
Two stories of Individual Impact
C.H. was told by a friend that NSFC is able to help out with basic needs. She arrived at NSFC to get a food bag, but a staff member spoke to her about other programs offered at the Center. C.H. had a basic understanding of computers, but wanted to learn more about using technology for job searching. She signed up for individual computer tutoring with one of the student volunteers. Over the course of five sessions, she learned how to use resume writing software, sample interview videos, and how to search for jobs using popular online job search engines.
F.G., a local high school student who participates in the after school homework tutoring program at NSFC, doesn’t have a home computer. He has homework assignments, like research papers, that require computer/internet use for long periods of time. He uses the Seattle Public Library system when he can, but the one-hour limit makes it difficult to have time to do research and write the research paper. Because of the TMF grant, NSFC has new computers with internet access and a current version of Microsoft Word, allowing F.G. to use the lab for researching and writing. He comes early to the after school program to use the computer lab for two hours at a time and successfully completes his homework on time!
To see the website created for NSFC lab users, go to: http://sites.google.com/site/nsfclab/.
This post is the first in a series of “TMF Success Stories,” featuring updates on Technology Matching Fund recipients.
The Multimedia Resources and Training Institute of Seattle, or MMRTI, empowers youth to become leaders by using media technology to create stories about their cultural heritage, communities, and themselves. In partnership with the East Africa Arts and Cultural Association, MMRTI was a Bill Wright 2009 Technology Matching Fund recipient. MMRTI serves the immigrant community in the Seattle area, and, through the grant, has increased its capacity to serve more people. They have not only updated their computer equipment and software, they recently moved into a new, larger space better suited to their exciting new programming.
In addition to overseeing youth programs, MMRTI partners with local nonprofits and service providers to reach a broader community. For example, in addition to the multimedia courses offered in the past, MMRTI now holds Microsoft Word and Excel classes for adults in partnership with WorkSource. MMRTI Executive Director Assaye Abunie is excited about continuing to form partnerships with organizations to provide technology assistance and training.
One of MMRTI’s best known programs continues to be Ethio Youth Media TV, which aired weekly on SCAN-TV. Currently, many clips are available on their YouTube channel. The topics covered by the youth are issues directly affecting their community, including: cultural heritage, health and addiction issues, youth violence, and social justice. MMRTI trains youth to use Final Cut Pro to edit the video, and uses two cameras and wireless microphones for optimal picture and sound.
Binyam, a participant in Ethio Youth Media TV, has benefited greatly from the program. He joined MMRTI with limited technology and media skills. As time went on, his skills increased and he became more involved in video production and editing. He brought many other youth to the program, assisting them along the way.
Binyam, along with other youth working on technical support and video production, became more visible in the community. As Binyam’s skill in video production increased, he organized some of the youth participants and made a short documentary film using the Final Cut Pro program. As a youth media and TV program lead, Binyam, with some of technical support team, has interviewed many event organizers, business people, community leaders, city officials, and government representatives. His interviews cover many community and youth issues. Topics include: violence, underage drinking, drug use, and HIV/AIDS.
Ethio Youth Media TV celebrated its 5th anniversary in March!
Attend a free drop-in help session this Saturday to learn how to use the City’s online grants management tool for the Technology Matching Fund and Neighborhood Matching Funds. The session will be held Saturday, April 30 at 10:30 a.m. at the Garfield Community Center Computer Lab, located at 2323 E Cherry St. Contact Delia Burke at 233-2751 for more information. The Bill Wright Technology Matching Fund deadline is May 19th. The NMF Small and Simple deadline is May 9th.
2010 and 2009 Technology Matching Fund grantees filled City Council Chambers in a show of support of CB 116919, which authorizes $300,000 to support technology programs, staffing and equipment in Seattle. For the video clip of the Seattle City Council briefing on July 21, where representatives from over 20 organizations shared program visions and successes, click here. The motion was passed by the Energy, Technology & Civil Rights subcommittee and expected to pass when presented at the next full council meeting.