We see a future where the children of Friendship House graduate from high school, from technical school, from college, with a meaningful education and a full compliment of life skills. We see a future where our kids are getting and keeping good paying jobs with benefits and the potential for advancement. We see the people who graduate from our program owning homes, buying goods and services, starting businesses, and paying taxes. We see them being actively involved in civic and social affairs and working collectively to improve and strengthen our community and the community of Billings at large. This is what breaking the cycle of poverty looks like and that’s what we are doing.
The “digital divide” is very real in our neighborhood. In June 2004 we made a commitment to significantly strengthen the academic and technological components of our youth development program. We have invested more than $150,000 in this effort to date. Currently, only children and teens enrolled in our programs have access to our computers and related technologies. So we are constructing an addition to the building that will become a Community Technology Center (CTC) and allow us to share these resources with the entire community. When people lack access to the technology that is defining our economy and its job market and they lack the skills to use this technology, they find themselves at a distinct disadvantage. Our expanded CTC will provide education and skill building opportunities to community members of all ages and abilities in an environment supportive of learning.
Community Outreach and Organizing
1. Form a Steering Committee to assist in the development of the CTC.
2. Complete community analysis and assessment.
3. Design the initial program and determine requirements.
4. Develop a business plan.
• Completed the demographic analysis of the neighborhood
• Formed a Steering Committee (SC)
• Developed a survey form for assessing and prioritizing the desires of the neighborhood
• Assessment of the neighborhood is underway
• I attended 3 grant-writing seminars (2 general and 1 on government grants)
• I helped define the scope and vision for the project and the organization’s future
• I am overseeing a pilot program
• I supervised the expenditure of $45,000 for technology equipment
• I am in the process of developing an operational budget and MOU’s
• I am researching funding opportunities