Public Housing Technology Center Development
CHA and DSSA develop Computer Learning Centers(CLCs) for residents at assigned public housing projects, including those who serve seniors and disabled adults.
Dan Killian replaced Alycia Alexander, as she moved to a full-time position with DSSA at the end of her VISTA year. Dan came to Sheridan Devon Apartments on the North Side. Sheridan Devon also was on its way to being self-sustaining, so Dan, like Ted, split his time between two buildings. Dan worked in Pomeroy Apartments CLC a few blocks away until the Fisher and Pomeroy CLCs were combined this summer.
Dan came with a background in Russian and Uzbek languages, and he began to learn Urdu in the evenings. Working in buildings with mostly elderly immigrants, his language skills got plenty of practice. He began to translate curricula, though this proved to be a difficult task.
Dan has worked to make connections in the community to expand the CLC beyond the building itself. He has worked with Loyola University Chicago, specifically Hillel and Loyola Chicago, building on relationships Alycia Alexander started with them last year. Dan also has built relationships with the Korean American Community Services, CAAELII, The First Bytes Club, and the Bosnian-Herzegovinian American Community Center. Dan invited guests from this organization to see our CLC, and he toured their centers to see how we could benefit each other.
Our best result so far has been the increase in resident volunteers, volunteers who live in the buildings who have gone through computer workshops and who are now sharing what they learned with others. Many of them had never touched a computer before last year; this year they are teachers!
Unfortunately for us, Dan received a job offer in Washington, D.C. that he could not refuse, so he left us at the end of August. His departure spurred the residents into action because the survival of their CLC depended upon their participation. Residents who previously had not participated very regularly became dependable volunteers and participate on the Steering Committee.