A Model Document
Access for Youth: The Dallas Computer Literacy Project
(page 1 of 2)
is the text of an important project in Texas involving
an alliance of information workers, Third Wave firms and
the young people and churches of the inner city. It offers
many lessons for other areas.
mission is to provide educational opportunities for Dallas's
urban residents through the use of computer technology.
Dallas Computer Literacy Program, Inc. (DCLP) is a nonprofit
corporation sponsored by the North Texas PC Users' Group
(NTPCUG) and the Apple Corps of Dallas. These are two
of the largest computer user groups in North Texas with
a combined membership of over 3000.
DCLP is staffed by volunteers who are concerned citizens
in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area interested in the educational
needs of urban residents. Our ties to the Apple Corps
of Dallas and the NTPCUG provide the DCLP with a strong
base of technical support. In addition, we actively seek
out partnerships with community-based nonprofit and religious
groups that desire to provide educational opportunities
through the use of modern computer technology for people
within their immediate community.
DCLP also works with public and private schools to teach
FREE computer classes at participating schools after the
school day ends. With assistance from our technical and
training volunteers, the DCLP is able to facilitate the
transfer of computer knowledge and skills for the educational
benefit of economically disadvantaged urban residents.
DCLP is an integral part of the solution to address the
vast educational needs of Dallas's disadvantaged urban
residents. The DCLP provides the opportunity to develop
computer job skills and knowledge in a positive, constructive
environment. This offers a real alternative to the crime
and drug culture that permeates some of Dallas's urban
communities and also provides a real opportunity for those
working to improve their lives.
is especially true for young people growing up in disadvantaged
urban neighborhoods. Society repeatedly sends a message
to our young people for them to "Just Say No"
to the crime, drug and gang culture without giving them
options to say YES! The DCLP provides such an option by
establishing partnerships with local community based organizations
in training adults and youth in basic computer skills;
skills which build self-esteem, enhance employment opportunities
and contribute to a sense of hope for the future. The
DCLP participates with our partners in providing the following
DCLP works in partnership with other nonprofit and community-based
organizations to establish Community Computing Centers
where disadvantaged people can go to take free computer
literacy and job skills classes. This allows people in
disadvantaged communities the opportunity to learn some
of the skills required for employment in a modern information
and service economy. A Community Computing Center becomes
a focal point for integrating technology into a disadvantaged
neighborhood and becomes the starting point for people
in a community to increase their technical knowledge and
Community Computing Center also becomes a resource center
for people living in a disadvantaged community. With volunteers
assisting in teaching, administration and upkeep of the
Center opportunities for relationships to be built between
unemployed and employed people living in the same community
are enhanced. This fosters role modeling by successful
people living in a community and also provides an opportunity
for the unemployed person to network with others for information
on job opportunities or to receive suggestions from others
about their job search.
Community Computing Center is a neighborhood version of
a community college's computer lab. It offers free education
and training and is conveniently accessed by people living
in a disadvantaged community who may not be comfortable
in a more traditional academic environment. Here they
can start the educational process they need to find employment
or to upgrade their job skills. Finding success at this
community level helps build self-esteem and confidence,
two requirements for any successful person. Additionally,
with modern telecommunications and computer-assisted education,
people are no longer completely dependent on a human teacher.
A Community Computing Center offers the opportunity to
develop distance learning programs and modem based educational
programs with the Dallas Community College District or
even the Dallas Independent School District.
DCLP helps churches, schools, YMCA's, community centers
and other community-based organizations establish Neighborhood
Computer Labs at their sites. The DCLP does this by placing
donated computers at these locations and providing volunteer
technical support to help establish and maintain these
computer labs. These labs become points for disadvantaged
people in a community to access modern computer technology.
Use of the computer labs vary from organization to organization;
however, the key point is that these labs support the
local church's, YMCA's or community center's educational
outreach program to their community. Additionally "open
lab" hours are provided during the week for anyone
with a DCLP ID card that would like to use the computers.
This provides people who have taken a DCLP computer class,
but who do not live near a community-computing center,
the opportunity to practice with a computer at no cost.
supporting a local church's or nonprofit's educational
outreach t their initiative is leveraged with the knowledge
of DCLP technical volunteers. Additionally as this technology
rapidly develops throughout this decade a local church
or nonprofit's educational program can be easily upgraded
as more modern computers continue to be donated to the
DCLP. The DCLP acts a technical "Salvation Army"
relieving a church or nonprofit organization from having
to actively and continually solicit donated computer equipment.
Additionally the DCLP acts as a technical resource for
local churches and nonprofits. By establishing a large
network of affiliated neighborhood computer labs training
efforts can be coordinated, information on educational
software can be easily disseminated and innovative educational
approaches can be explored with established educational
institutions such as the Dallas Independent School District
and the Dallas County Community College District. More