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This project really changes lives. The teacher of a class where we placed a computer and software recently wrote:

Hola Como están???

I´m very grateful with you, for all your atentions with our school, we began to show the all the things that we can find and do in the computer, when I show the encyclopedia the want to see everything, all my kids want to use it, and this days they arrive very early in the mornings because they want to learn how to use and use it, you can´t believe it when we´re in the computer they´re so quiet and you know this is so hard and all the atention is with the programs, we playes de puzzles and they were telling me where to put the parts, when they listen the Himno Nacional Mexicano, they started to sing, and when they finished to sing, some kids told me that when they were listening it they want to cry because they felt very nice in they´re hearts.

This are only some of they expresions and they´re so happy and interested with the computer, you know, now they have the technology and the world in their hands, the donations it´s going to change and opend their mind and their vision to their future, now they´re have more options to do in their lives.

I´m so grateful with you and Sr. Dennis, de verdad, it´s a great present, because you can see the comunity it´s very poor and their options and opportunities are not to much, but now it´s different. Any time when you want to visit the school you´re very wellcome.

Disculpen mi Ingles pero estoy muy emocionada por que vi en mis alumnos esa alegria y ganas de conocer el mundo.

¡¡¡¡Mil gracias por todo¡¡¡¡

Con Cariño y Respeto


Computers for kidsA CPJ volunteer's story: "Hola Barry! Hola!"

A wonderful sound that greets me each time I visit the Boys' and Girls' Homes here in San Miguel de Allende. The kids are all very eager to learn and look forward to the weekly visits – as do I. I am not certain if I get more out of volunteering the kids than they do from what I have to share.

Each week at the Boys' Home I work with the Madres in the morning helping them learn basic key-boarding and Microsoft Word and Excel. In the afternoon I return to work with the boys.

There are so many boys that we break them into 3 groups and rotate them through the computer room. However, by the end of the session the room is usually packed as the boys don't leave, they just make way for the next group and stand behind them to watch and offer advice (the boys usually work with a math adventure program).
Computers for kidsTwice a week the Girls' Home is the place to be. On Mondays we practice keyboarding and Microsoft Word. The girls, being mostly teenagers, are a different challenge than the boys, who are all young. They have taught themselves to type and breaking their bad habits and convincing them that by going "backwards" and then forwards they will be much faster typists in the long-run is difficult. On Fridays we work on Microsoft Powerpoint and Excel.

I have help with Powerpoint and Excel – two other volunteers, Pip and Martial, pitch in to help teach the girls. I have not worked with young people for quite some time and the enthusiasm and facileness with which they learn is truly joyous to experience.

Introducing a Class to the Computer: The First Session

Computers for kidsAfter the preliminary meetings to establish rapport and assess the computer readiness of the staff, we introduce the wonders of computing.   

Occasionally a teacher or a principal has some computer experience but more often they are leery of the computer or even afraid of it.

The Clipboard is a great ice-breaker. If kids are present I like to type, or have them type, their name and their parent's names. Then add a line or two about their school or their town.  When they see this on the screen their eyes grow wide.  

What seems to work best is to take enough time to cover a few of these handy hints. Not to get into the "how to do it" right then but to show the possibilities. Save a document you just created, go off to do something else, and then come back to it and show them how the computer kept that masterpiece.

Computers for kidsThen we spend some time with just one of our software programs like Apprende a Leer con Pipo. I play for a few minutes, asking for help in the selections to involve the participants, before getting a teacher, or a bright kid, to do the same. I show them how their progress is saved until that same kid plays again.

Then I like to revisit the document created earlier so they see it is still there and finally show them how to turn off and on the computer. Thats a full load for the first session.

Rest assured this initial session gets them hooked and looking forward to the next session!


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