Photo by Perry Klein.

This summer, the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly Youth Activities Task Force (SWNA YATF) conducted a Computer Training Program for Kids at the James Creek Resident Council computer center from July 26 to Aug. 11.  The nearly four-week training program provided basic computer training that included hardware, software, keyboarding, internet overview, and a brief intro to the Microsoft Suite of products—Windows, Word, and PowerPoint. The students, who ranged in age from 5–14 years old, worked toward completing their PowerPoint presentation by end of the session. Classes were held twice a week from noon to 1:30 p.m. with students being served a healthy snack at the end of each session. Each student receives a desktop computer similar to the one he or she trained on during the program, with a limit of one computer per household.

Eleven students completed the program with nearly perfect attendance. They were prompt and often so engaged in their work that they stayed after class. Some even said they would practice keyboarding at home on their keyboard handout. As they discovered new tips and techniques, they would get so excited. It was a joy to watch them work on their individual projects and share their work with other students and even adults. Their creativity and individualism were illustrated in their work. It was also a great opportunity for the students to learn more about how to use computers both for school and at home. They really enjoyed spending time in the computer lab at James Creek as a way to productively pass the time away during the hot summer days.

The culminating activity was a graduation ceremony held on Friday, Aug.19 at King Greenleaf Recreation Center for students completing the program, including Dequan Banks, Akeyla Collins, Manaya Collins, Serena Cross, Vernita Hagans, Marcell Reynolds, Terrence Turner, Breana Vann, William Wilson, Willow Wilson, and Weslei Yates.

More than 50 proud parents, relatives, and friends attended the graduation ceremony and reception. Quantay Oliver, housing manager at James Creek, brought greetings and inspiring words of encouragement to the students. Featured speaker Joe Paul, an author and leadership strategist, shared a message that was powerfully motivating and uplifting. Paul is also founder of the Student Leadership Boot Camp, a leadership and professional development training organization dedicated to creating mission- and vision-driven student leaders across the world.

Special thanks to the site coordinator, Christine Spencer, who was instrumental in facilitating and scheduling the program, recruiting neighborhood students, and providing student assistants Dayonna Queen and Asia Spencer. Also, thanks to SWNA Technology Task Force Chair Perry Klein for his leadership efforts in the maintenance and upgrade of the James Creek computer lab’s equipment, and for delivering nine refurbished computers to the students’ families. Thanks to YATF Chair Thelma D. Jones for her guidance, support, and securing dynamic speakers for the graduation ceremony.

Applications are being accepted now for the next Computer Training Program for Kids, slated to start in early October.

By: Jenelle Leonard

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