Voices From the Lab: YMCA’s After School Program Gets Tech Support

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Yesenia, a native Houstonian, spends every Wednesday afternoon in our Texas Connects Coalition computer lab at the MD Anderson YMCA. She’s not alone; in fact, she’s surrounded by children.

Yesenia works at the YMCA’s After School program, which gets local kids in a constructive, safe environment while their parents work. The YMCA created the program to engage children “in physical, learning and imaginative activities that encourages them to explore who they are and what they can achieve.”

The lab, one of the Texas Connects Coalition’s 80 public labs funded by a broadband grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce, is a part of the YMCA’s mission. “The children benefit from the computers,” says Yesenia. The children look forward to “playing online games and sharing videos,” but she also sees their computer and Internet skills improve. And since she also uses the computers every day, “We all benefit greatly from the computer lab.”

Even skills like online searching can help kids find useful (and free) homework or tutoring resources. America’s Teachers on America’s Schools, a report by Scholastic and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, found that, “81% of teachers say that up-to-date information-based technology … integrated into the classroom is absolutely essential or very important in impacting student achievement.”

As for Yesenia, who also pays bills and checks her email with the lab’s new computer technology, the amount of time saved by using computers is the biggest benefit. “And,” she adds, “I can help others do the same.”

The MD Anderson YMCA supports youth development, healthy living and social responsibility through various programs throughout the United States. For more information, call (713) 697-0648 or visit 705 Cavalcade.

Source: Technology For All

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