By Ana Negoescu
Setting up a citizenship computer lab was once an indefinite term objective of our citizenship program. Today, we are proud to check it on our fulfilled objectives list.
As part of our overarching goal to help our community members develop marketable skills and become self-sufficient, the fully equipped computer lab will first benefit our citizenship students, and will be used to teach them computer basics and enable them to make use of the great citizenship resources available online on the USCIS Citizenship Resource Center such as videos, interactive exercises, audio lessons and practice, etc. and other helpful computer based study tools.
Our students hold the power! They work hard, they provide for their families, they learn, they participate, they advocate. However, in an era of internet and digital communication, a simple raise of hands in our classrooms reveals that only 2% of our students use computers and internet. Can you imagine all the power they would hold if they were online?!?! Starting this January, the lab will enable our students to:
- Learn how to use the computer and internet and become more self-sufficient;
- Access valuable Citizenship Online Resources currently unavailable to them and be prepared for the citizenship interview and exam;
- Write letters to their local and U.S. Representatives;
- See videos of historic speeches and read the latest news;
- Once U.S. citizens, register to vote and become engaged in their country’s democracy;
- Search and apply for jobs online;
- …and much, much more!
This is an invaluable resource for our community, which will help our students to gain valuable skills and contribute to more positive change in our local community!
This computer lab was made possible with a generous computer donation from the IDB DC Solidarity Program, additional financial support through a U. S. Department of Homeland Security Citizenship and Integration Grant award, and seed money from the Gannett Foundation in 2012.