Connecting for Good, a Kansas City-area non-profit that’s working to provide digital literacy and computer access across the metro, established a computer lab last year across from the Juniper Gardens Housing Project in Kansas City, Kansas. The organization recently added 25 computers, because the lab became so popular.
Connecting For Good teamed up with the local housing authority to put a bunch of computers in the building to hold classes and serve neighborhood students.
“It used to be a tavern, a juke joint, a biker bar, “ says Connecting for Good CEO Michael Liimatta. “This was an opportunity for us to see that the building would never again be a problem to the neighborhood.”
Liimatta says from about 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., adults come for classes and to practice on the computers. After 3 p.m., school buses empty out near the lab and the place starts to buzz as a homework center and a hub of creativity for student projects.
“We’re making technology accessible to folks who don’t have it,” Liamatta says. “75 percent of the people who use the facility are over 50. Fully 25 percent of them have never even seen a computer before.”
Never seen a computer.
That’s pretty hard to comprehend given the central role computers play in our lives today. Many job applications are only available online. It’s hard to learn about consumer products or services without accessing a website. How many times a day do you access Google?
"We're want to make it cool to be a geek," says Liimatta, who hopes the lab will expand over time.