digital divide

Access Humboldt grows another ring

From Eureka, California’s Times-Standard:

Computer and Digital Literacy Program Building

VISTA Name: 
Victoria Jackson
Program Start: 
Program End: 
Project Description: 

Closing the Digital Gap Program

Objective 1: The Program Director, BCFI staff and volunteers will provide orientation and introduction to the project and the Lansing community

Objective 2: New Horizon Computer Learning Center staff will provide four days of training in Beginning, Intermediate and Advance Windows and Beginning Internet.

Objective 3: Provide training and support in helping members of the target population increase their computer knowledge and skills.

Objective 4: : VISTA workers will assist in the implementation of the Port of Entry/Closing the Gap program

Objective 5: Public and private sector resources will enable the project to continue after the Members leave.

Project Outcome: 

Objective 1: Objective completed at the beginning of the program-February 2001.

Objective 2: All Vistas Have had over 10 days of training.

Objective 3: Victoria has provided support services to all 516 graduates

Objective 4: Victoria has scheduled Workshops for 414 graduates since she started. She has assisted in the recruitment of 24 volunteers. Victoria is part of the new and old equipment teams. These teams are responsible for the dispensing and acquiring of all computers and component parts.Victoria has assisted in the scheduling of 24 volunteers,

Objective 5: We have received funding from foundations for over $90,000. We fell short of our objective to raise $8,000 from faith based organizations and $14,000 in individual donations. We received $7,100 from faith based organizations and $10,000 from individuals. We have received a continuation from the City of Lansing Economic Development Initiative and increased the funding to $40,000.

One of the major problems our program has encountered in the past is the overwhelming popularity our program; we have reduced our waiting list to the point that that a new applicant is able to attend class in 6-8 months. We have a new internet service provider ACD.NET who has generously agreed to provide all of the Closing the Digital Gap’s graduates with free 1 year internet service. We have come along way in a short period of time, but we still have a long way to go.

Media Literacy Curriculum Development

VISTA Name: 
Erica Freshour
Program Start: 
Program End: 
Project Description: 

Erica continues to be instrumental in the daily work of GRIID (Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy).

List of Projects/work description

Teen Mother’s Media Project
a.assisting in video camera and video editing instruction of teen mothers
b.developing weekly video exercises
c.assisting in script writing

Young Women for Change - Sexually Toxic Media Project
a.Assisting in video camera and video editing instruction of teenage women
b.Developing media literacy exercises for the participants
c.Gathering examples for the media literacy exercises from TV, ads and films
d.Facilitating discussion with participants

Anti-Tobacco Youth Project
a.Assisting in video camera and video editing instruction of teenage women
b.Developing media literacy exercises for the participants

News Monitoring Project
a.2 days a week of watch & logging data from three and one-half hours of local TV news
b.Assisting in writing reports

Six Month Movie Content Analysis Study
a.Watching 50 movies, logging data and editing clips
b.Assisting in editing films clips by themes

Project Outcome: 

Erica continues to be instrumental in the daily work of GRIID. She takes on 50% of the news monitoring work, community networking, media literacy workshops and grant-funded projects. Erica has also been instrumental in assisting with the creation of GRIID instructionals and video editing work that is essential to much of the GRIID work.

CTC Program Building

VISTA Name: 
Ella Holden
Program Start: 
Program End: 
Project Description: 

This year has been successful, for we conducted the following classes here at the Riley Hill Technology Center: Excel, PowerPoint, Microsoft Word, as well as Introduction to the personal computer. The total number of students attending was 54. As Ella says, “I was blessed with seven volunteer instructors by advertising in the community. I was also privileged to teach Microsoft Word with an Introduction to the Personal Computer.”

A Computer Repair course was developed for Riley Hill Community Technology Center. Ella decided to use two resources to develop this course: Computer Concepts (Third Edition) and Technology for Social Change’s curriculum ( with their permission. Ella also planned to use the RTPnet site as a reference for this course.

Project Outcome: 

Developing this course has helped Ella to better troubleshoot computers, for there are individuals in the community that are in dire need of help. These individuals bring their personal computers to the center for technical support. In the Wendell Community and surrounding areas, the Riley Hill Technology Center is the only source that does not charge a fee for service.

We very grateful to add our source of Volunteers & Technology Resources. We have used the following sources this year (2003-2004):

• Schools (K-12) students as well as other personnel
• Community Colleges
• Libraries (Public and Other)
• Local businesses
• Wake Forest Pediatrics (Wake Forest, NC)
• Churches (Wakefield, Zebulon First Baptist etc.)
• (Website)
• Family and Friends of staff members
• Department of Social Services (Eastern Regional Center, Zebulon)
• Retired Senior citizens

The quality of life has improved for the youth and adults who have taken computer classes at the center, however updating the computer equipment as well as software is still needed. We are currently looking for funding for this project and for a long-term way of sustaining the center. The Riley Hill Survey Plan has given some insight on how to get this plan implemented.

Impact Quote: 

Ella has done an outstanding job in coordinating and teaching classes as mentioned in her report this period. She is very dependable, very cooperative, a team player, and continues to be an asset to the Riley Hill Community. Her interaction with others (peers, youth, students, etc.) is outstanding. During this time period, there have not been any negative comments received regarding Ella. To sum it up, I would rate her as ‘Consistently Exceeds’ the requirements in all aspects of the job.”
- supervisor

Community Technology Empowerment Project

St Paul, MN

The AmeriCorps Community Technology Empowerment Project (CTEP) bridges the “digital divide” for recent immigrants and low-income communities in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. AmeriCorps members help youth and adults use technology to better access social, civic, educational and economic opportunities.

The primary goal of this project is to help partner agencies utilize their existing community technology resources to better serve the needs of both youth and adults within their local neighborhoods, especially new immigrant, low-income residents and persons with disabilities.

A secondary goal is teach agency staff, volunteers and visitors how to use new technologies (including digital video and web) in order to help their constituents connect with existing civic, social service and community resources.

Additionally, all AmeriCorps CTEP members are required to mobilize volunteers at their host sites, participate in member development activities, and learn about civic engagement during their service year.

The Children's Partnership/Tides Center

Santa Monica, CA

The Children’s Partnership (TCP) is a national, nonprofit child advocacy organization working to ensure that all children – especially those at risk of being left behind – have the resources and the opportunities they need to grow up healthy and to lead productive lives.

We focus particular attention on the goals of securing health coverage for uninsured children and ensuring that the opportunities of digital technology benefit all children and families. With input from our advisors, we advance our goals by combining national research with community-based activities. We then develop policy and advocacy agendas to expand these demonstrated solutions to underserved communities around the country.

In this way, TCP serves as a “research and development arm” for the children’s movement and expands the reach of child advocacy to new issues and new audiences.

Technology for All

Houston, TX

Mission: To empower under-resourced communities through the tools of technology.

Technology For All (TFA) focuses most of its programs on the support and encouragement of community technology centers (CTCs) across the greater Houston area. In collaboration with the Mision Milby CDC (MMCDC), TFA operates its own CTC and together TFA and MMCDC develop and test programs that can be replicated in other CTCs. TFA is also focused on creating social enterprises that use technology as a tool to solve community problems. As an example, under the umbrella of “TFA-Services,” TFA is developing projects like TFA-Wierless, which is creating new oppertunites for low income communities to reach the internet.

People's Production House

New York, NY

At People’s Production House we are fulfilling the promise of citizen and community journalism by closing the gap in skills and access.

We believe a diverse, ethical, and independent media is an essential element of social change and we believe that historically excluded communities must be protagonists in media democracy. Our work combines media creation, media policy education and media organizing to preserve and expand the free press so central to America’s identity and democracy.

PPH is run and staffed by journalists and community organizers from historically excluded communities. Our projects are unique as we bring together two of the best American traditions: community organizing and independent media creation, to build a community of media organizers: media literate youth and workers who can create and demand a media that functions in their interests.

Neighborhood Technology Resource Center

Chicago, IL

Founded in February 2000, the Neighborhood Technology Resource Center’s mission is to create public spaces where technology can be experienced and serve as a catalyst for individual and community capacity development. The NTRC accomplishes this mission by creating programs in collaboration with residents that are practical, relevant and contribute to their digital proficiency. Our long term vision is that local citizens, community organizations, churches and businesses will have access to and the necessary knowledge of digital technologies and its benefits for the purpose of individual and community development.

Our programmatic focus has been to use digital technology to: (a) increase literacy and educational competency among youth, adults and organizations; (b) enhance training, employment goals and outcomes for long-term career development; and (c) strengthen organizational infrastructure to facilitate growth and development.

The Neighborhood Technology Resource Center (NTRC) has three locations in Chicago’s North Lawndale, West Town and Grand Boulevard communities. At NTRC North Lawndale we have 20 computer workstations with T1 Internet access. Located in the Northwest Tower Apartments, NTRC West Town has twelve computer workstations connected to the Internet through a Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), while NTRC Grand Boulevard hosts over 45 computers for public use.

Oakland Technology Exchange West (OTX West)/Marcus A. Foster Educational Institute

Oakland, CA

The Marcus A. Foster Educational Institute (MAFEI) Oakland Technology Exchange West project (OTX-W) is a large-scale computer reuse program dedicated to providing high quality, refurbished home computers to families, students and teachers. As reflected in the scope of work and subsequent MOU agreement, MAFEI continues to meet the following objectives for FY 2004-05.

OTX-West is dedicated to eliminating the digital divide in Oakland, California. We do this by refurbishing surplus computers, educating families and providing ongoing access and support to those who have received our computers. The experiences of OTX-West over the past 6 years has demonstrated both the need for home computers in the community and the reuse model as a green way to meet the need.

In today’s world, everyone needs access to computers and the Internet in order to join the new economy. Access to education, health care, government agencies, jobs, and other services are all currently offered through the Internet. This need has many adults feeling like they are too old to learn the tools of the “information age.” This way of thinking, along with the lack of resources in the communities, contributes to the “digital divide” that exits in Oakland.

It is not enough to provide computers, although this is essential. OTX-West provides education that is necessary for those who are getting their computers for the first time. Technical support is also necessary to keep these computers working properly so that the people of Oakland can continue to learn and become a part of the “information age” and not be left behind.

Transmission Project