Students empowered with computers
- By Eric Kulisch
- Jan 02, 2001
The charitable organization intends to distribute 6,000 to 7,000 refurbished
computers to all households with children in a south Dallas school district,
according to the foundation's executive director, Jon Edmonds. The only
requirement: Parents must attend a class on basic computer operation.
The students reside in Fair Park, one of the most economically disadvantaged
areas of Dallas. Per capita income there hovers around $7,000.
"We're trying to change the culture about how computers and technology are
thought about in this particular urban setting," Edmonds said. The goal
is that by increasing access to information technology, youngsters will
be motivated to hone their technical skills.
FCE serves as a managing partner of the Dallas
Area Technology Alliance (DATA), which is made up of organizations and individuals
working to close the gap between the technology haves and have-nots by providing
training, computer hardware and software, mentorships and jobs to citizens
in disadvantaged neighborhoods of Dallas.
In addition to the computer giveaway, the alliance is building neighborhood
Cyber Centers where children can use more-sophisticated technology. The
centers will host Web design and other types of competitions.
The alliance also sponsors WhizKidz,
an in-school program designed to help students polish their skills for college
and the workforce. Staffed by young professionals and high-achieving student
volunteers, WhizKidz aims to make computer training as hip as possible,
DATA enables corporations to funnel their giving through one organization
and to target specific areas of need, said Ellen Carter, program manager
for education at FCE.
The foundation receives used computers for its programs from corporations
and buys previously leased units from Dell Computer Corp. at drastically
reduced prices, Edmonds said.