An Evanston Township High School club, Youth Technology Corps (YTC), is planning to provide computer hardware and technology education to impoverished areas of New Orleans, targeting two neighborhoods that are still recovering from the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina 10 years ago. In partnership with New Orleans’ Center for Ethical Living and Social Justice Renewal, YTC plans to refurbish and deliver computers as well as provide the expertise needed to start New Orleans’ first two YTC clubs at a school and a church there.
YTC’s mission is to empower teens to lead communities by refurbishing used computers, which are then donated to assist nonprofits and individuals in gaining access to computer technology. In the past two years, the club has donated dozens of refurbished computers to local nonprofit and community agencies, including Evanston’s Haitian Congress to Fortify Haiti, Curt’s Cafe, Bethel A.M.E. Church, and the City of Evanston’s Youth and Young Adult department. In addition, the club has refurbished and delivered dozens of computers to aid social service agencies, schools and youth in Durango, Mexico.
David Finkel, YTC president and founder, and “Mabja” Amina DaDa are leading the partnership in New Orleans. Mr. Finkel says the YTC clubs “provide underserved youth with STEM learning, good citizenship and recycling practices, while bridging the digital divide in the communities where students live and beyond.”
Ms. DaDa, a New Orleans native, says her inspiration for the project is Harriet Tubman, who saved hundreds of slaves by leading them to freedom on the Underground Railroad. “My dream,” says Ms. DaDa, “is to act as a ‘Harriet Tubman’ of the cyberhighway, leading New Orleans youth to new career skills and spreading technology knowledge to those left behind, closing some of the gaps in the digital divide.”
In addition to the New Orleans project, ETHS YTC will focus on two other new initiatives this year: a digital media program to create computer repair “how to” videos and an outreach project designed to bring computers and technology training to nonprofits serving Evanston’s middle school students.
ETHS YTC meets after school at ETHS on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays and welcomes new members throughout the year.
Anyone wishing more information on how to get involved with YTC initiatives in Evanston or New Orleans may contact Margo Scholl, ETHS YTC program coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org ) or Amina Dada (email@example.com).