Jama L. Jarrett
Sadly, not everyone has access to a computer. But thanks to stimulus funds awarded to the Region VI WorkForce Investment Board, youth and young adults in Jefferson, Berkeley, Morgan, Hampshire, Mineral, Grant, Hardy and Pendleton counties were able to receive access and the training necessary to operate their very own personal computer.
In 2009, 54 youth took park in a project called “Build It, Keep It, Share It.”
Sponsored by Mission West Virginia, participants took part in an opportunity that allowed them to build their own personal computers as well as learn how to use them to assist them in job searches.
The project focuses on disabled youth and young adults (ages 14-24) and includes weeklong instruction that consists of classes on utilizing Internet tools for training and employment to properly using and taking advantage of Facebook to find a job.
“Build It, Keep It, Share It is a win-win program for all those involved - from our participating youth to our sponsoring organizations,” said Barbara DeMary.
Colleges throughout north central West Virginia have donated space for the 26-hour training that will continue through December 2010.
Participants receive a computer kit and direction from a certified Mission West Virginia instructor. Once the computer is assembled, the instructor then tells students how to use the computer and Microsoft Office software.
After participants complete the weeklong session, they walk away not only with a new computer built by their own hands, but also with the knowledge of how to use it for their training and employment needs.
In addition, students acquire team-building skills and learn the important aspects of how working together can help them achieve a common goal.
Build It, Keep It, Share It participants understand the impact of the program. Testimonials from the first class in March held at West Virginia Wesleyan’s campus include:
- “BIKISI has taught me about the ins and outs of basic computer components. It has inspired me to go after what I truly want in life.” Tasha
- “This program will help me in the future. Plus, getting my GED I can study and keep my files safe. Thank you all for everything you have done for me this week.” Latocha
- “I learned more about the history of computers along with the process of assembling a notebook computer. I also learned about the basics of computer networking and maintenance. In a tech heavy work environment, the knowledge of computer maintenance and troubleshooting will prove to be an invaluable resource. BIKISI was a wonderful experience that has taught me knowledge that has important real world applications.” Shawn