Partnership with Triangle Literacy Council

 

Collaboration with community organizations and schools across the state is a key factor in the success of our programs. We’ve kicked off 2017 with a bang thanks to one of these collaborations.

Triangle Literacy Council (TLC) is a Raleigh-based organization that works to improve the lives of adults, youth, and families by teaching basic literacy and life skills. One of their biggest programs is the Juvenile Literacy program, which has been extremely successful in preventing recidivism of court-involved youth and increasing participants’ educational levels. This model has proven effective in preventing criminal behavior, improving academic skills, and increasing emotional and social awareness for better behavior in schools, at home and in the community. The program’s intent is to provide at-risk youth with direct one-on-one tutoring and/or small group classes that address basic literacy deficiencies and align with North Carolina standards as well as to prepare them for End of Grade Testing.

Kramden partnered with TLC to award computers to participants of the Juvenile Literacy program at 22 different schools and community organizations in Durham, Person, Granville, Franklin, Harnett, and Vance Counties. Staff from TLC came to Kramden in December for training on how to award the computers and use the Ubermix operating system. Earlier this month, Kramden staff delivered 381 computers to TLC sites across the Triangle, with more headed out later this month.

This partnership allowed Kramden to serve students at schools we haven’t worked with before and have a deeper impact at some of our partner schools. In addition, partnerships like this one have a multiplier effect. Having access to a computer means these students can build on the skills they learned during the Juvenile Literacy program, using the computer for homework and making use of the suite of educational programs that come preloaded on every computer awarded.

Digital Literacy and Computer Awards at the Oaks

 

Recently, Kramden Institute partnered with the Raleigh Housing Authority, the City of Raleigh, and Google Fiber in an effort to address the digital divide for residents of the Oaks, a Raleigh Housing Authority community of 50 individual housing units in the North Raleigh area.

As part of the partnership, Kramden Institute, supported by a grant from Google Fiber, provided free digital literacy classes to residents of the Oaks. Residents were trained by Kramden staff on computer basics, office programs, the internet, and social media. The City of Raleigh supported the program by providing volunteer teaching assistants for the class, all of whom are alumni of the City of Raleigh’s Digital Connectors program. Residents who completed the 4 weeks of training were awarded a desktop computer. Google Fiber, a provider of gigabit speed internet service and Connect Home partner, will provide free internet service to residents of the Oaks beginning in early 2017 under the Google Fiber Connected Communities program.       

Supported by a great community resident leader, Ms. Lottie Moore, and Raleigh Housing Authority Special Assistant to the Executive Director Sonia Anderson, Kramden Institute was able to enroll 12 adult learners from the Oaks Community in the digital literacy classes.  

Additionally, Ms. Moore, known throughout the community as Ms. Lottie,  and Ms. Anderson helped Kramden identify 25 additional households in the Oaks community with school age children in the home who qualified for our Kramden Tech Scholars program. While the digital literacy classes were taking place, these households were also awarded desktop computers refurbished by Kramden volunteers.

Through successful collaboration, the community partners involved were able to prepare over 70% of the households in the Oaks community for free internet service to be provided by Google Fiber.  

Kramden Participates in Digital Charlotte Meetup

Last night, Michael Abensour, Kramden’s Executive Director, took part in a Digital Charlotte Meetup. He joined panelists from Code for Charlotte, Eliminate the Digital Divide (E2D) and Informative Technologies for the 90-minute event. The panelists shared their thoughts and answered questions around the night’s topic – “How to Change the Future With One Device”.

The night began with each panelist describing the ways their organization works toward digital inclusion. From there the moderator dug deeper into some of the key issues surrounding access to computers, recycling, and digital literacy.

The event took place at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte and was live streamed using Facebook Live.

 

Informative Technologies Inc. is a social enterprise that has researched and developed scalable, market-driven solutions to the digital divide and electronic waste since 2014. This is made possible by our ReviveOS™ software, which revives “obsolete” computers so they can run better than ever; thus breaking the cycle of planned obsolescence that’s built into competing operating systems today. To get these devices to those who are affected by the digital divide, we are building a community-based ecosystem that connects donor companies with recipient community organizations.  http://informativeinc.com/

Code for Charlotte is a nonprofit working to bridge the gap between residents and local governments. We believe that government and community resources should be open, accessible and friendly to all residence. We use technology, education and advocacy to further this movement and increase civic engagement in Charlotte. http://www.codeforcharlotte.org

Eliminate the Digital Divide (E2D) is a nonprofit organization founded in 2013 with the goal of helping every public school student in the Charlotte area has the access to computer technology and support to achieve academic success. http://www.e-2-d.org

 

 

Wake County Families Receive Computers

By T. Keung Hui, The News & Observer
Read original here.

 

Wake County parents are getting free computers and training on how to use them so their children can have access at home to the digital resources that could help them succeed in school.

A total of 510 desktop and laptop computers will be given this school year to families who participate in the Family Digital Academy program offered at nine Wake schools. An excited group of 100 families received computers Thursday at Hodge Road Elementary School as part of an effort to help bridge the digital divide.

“We’re giving them the tools so even if they don’t have the academic knowledge, they have the tools so they can support their kids academically,” said Rosa Rangel, senior administrator in the school system’s Office of Equity Affairs.

Mariza Romero, who has two daughters at Hodge Road Elementary and one daughter at East Wake Middle School, was looking forward to setting up her new computer.

“It’s good because we don’t have a lot of money,” Romero said. “We have an old, old computer, but we have three girls.”

Rangel said she’s heard similar happy stories since the Family Digital Academy program began last school year at Combs Elementary in Raleigh. With the help of Univision and the Kramden Institute, a nonprofit group in Durham, 150 computers were distributed last school year.

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Rangel said the program was so successful that it has expanded to include Brentwood and Washington elementary schools and Millbrook and Southeast Raleigh high schools in Raleigh; Carpenter Elementary and Cary High in Cary; Lincoln Heights Elementary in Fuquay-Varina and Hodge Road Elementary.

Kramden is providing the desktops, and the United Way is donating the laptops. Rangel said laptops are being given to high school students and to fifth-grade students since they’ll have the most need of the computers at school.

The workshops, which are being taught in multiple languages, provide parents with information about different online resources they can use at home to support their children. Organizers say putting these resources into the hands of parents could help close the achievement gap that exists between low-income and more affluent students.

Families are also being told how they can contact AT&T to get access to low-cost home internet service.

“We want you to understand what your child is doing so you can help them with their reading and math,” Rangel told parents at Hodge Road.

For Romero, who can remember the days when classrooms had one computer, she said having a modern computer at home is necessary for her children’s education.

“We used to look at a lot of books for homework,” Romero said. “Now they can just type in Google.”

Church gives away free home computers

By Ryan Hedrick, The Daily Dispatch
Read original here.

Woodsworth Baptist Church gave out almost 50 desktop computers Saturday afternoon to families with school-aged children in need of home computers for their schoolwork. This is the first time that the church has distributed the PCs and it all started when Joyce Royster, the church’s youth director, noticed her children often said that they couldn’t do certain schoolwork because they didn’t have easy access to a computer at home. “I was working with our children on their end-of-grade testing, and I was trying to tell them that they could go online to study the test. ‘I don’t have a computer at home,’ they would tell me,” Royster said.

So Royster contacted Kramden Institute in Durham to see if they could help. Kramden Institute is an organization that was started more than a decade ago by a father and son duo who wanted to help deserving students have more readily available access to computers in their homes. Over the history of the organization, more than 24,000 refurbished home computers have been given out to students across 78 of North Carolina’s 100 counties. Royster said that when she contacted Kramden to see if they could help the children in her church, Kramden was more than open to the idea. “They said yes. So I had to go through a training process at Kramden to get started with our church,” Royster said. “The day that I went to the training they weren’t supposed to send the computers then, but they already had them packed up and ready to send them back with me.”

Families that wanted to receive one of the computers had to first go through an application process and be approved by Kramden. The students needed to be in good academic standing and be in grades three through 12. The computers that Kramden distributes to students are completely refurbished with new parts and come with more than 60 programs like word processors and programs to help with skills such as reading and math. Also, Kramden will replace any defective parts in the computer for as long as the student that received it is in school.

Martynetta Hargrove is an assistant pastor at Woodsworth and was present at the church’s giveaway. She talked about how thankful she was that Royster decided to take on such an important cause. “I’m very thankful for Mrs. Royster as our youth director because not every child can have a computer in their home,” Hargrove said. “This is helping a lot of families not just in this church but in the community, and we are so thankful that they will have the chance to have their own computers.”

Melvin Hanks was at Woodsworth on Saturday afternoon picking up one of the computers for his grandson who is in ninth grade at Henderson Collegiate. “It will help him do homework and stuff like that,” Hanks said. “This day and time all kids need a computer, don’t they?” Hanks also mentioned that before now whenever his grandson was at home and needed to access the internet for school work, he would have to do so using Hanks’ cellphone. “I would be looking around and wouldn’t know where my cellphone was and he would have it,” Hanks said with a chuckle. “At least now at night I’ll have my phone.” Royster said that she has already started planning another round of computer giveaways and is taking applications from families that need them.

 

 

Kramden Provides Computers for the NETT Program

 

Earlier this year, one of our favorite partners, WinstonNet, received a grant from the United Way as part of the Place Matters Initiative. The grant provides funds for WinstonNet’s Neighborhoods Empowered Through Technology (NETT) program. This program focuses on providing computer and soft skills training for unemployed and underemployed residents of select Winston Salem neighborhoods. To carry out the NETT program, WinstonNet partnered with the Urban League, Forsyth Tech Community College, Forsyth County Public Library, Winston Salem State University, and Kramden Institute.

100 participants will go through a 30-hour course covering computer and internet basics, office programs, and job readiness skills such as interviewing, resume development, and searching for job postings. The classes are held at Goodwill and Forsyth Tech, keeping them close to the neighborhoods the participants live in. After graduating from the program, participants receive a refurbished laptop from Kramden Institute for $25.

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70% of program participants that have graduated from the program so far are currently looking for jobs or working to enhance their skills to get better jobs. Two classes have already graduated and two more classes are underway. Feedback from participants has been highly positive. One participant told instructors she was very excited because she could now apply to jobs online on her own using a computer.

 

Kramden in the News: 2nd Annual Wells Fargo Geek-a-Thon

 

Wells Fargo teams up with WinstonNet and

Kramden Institute for 2nd annual project

From the Camel City Dispatch

Team member volunteers from Wells Fargo will award over 100 computers to deserving students from Forsyth County schools without access to a working home computer on Saturday, October 1, 2016.

volunteers

volunteers

Approximately 200 team members from Wells Fargo will volunteer their time on Thursday and Friday at the Milton Rhodes Art Center to refurbish desktop computers during a three-day “Geek-A-Thon” sponsored by Wells Fargo and organized by the Kramden Institute and WinstonNet. The goal is to refurbish and award 100 of these computers to local school children without a home computer of their own. The rest of the refurbished computers will be awarded to students and organizations across North Carolina.

Kramden Institute, a Durham-based nonprofit whose mission is to provide technology tools and training to bridge the digital divide, brought hundreds of computers along with their staff to lead and guide the Wells Fargo volunteers through the Institute’s intense three-day “Geek-A-Thon” computer refurbishing process.

“We take pride in supporting and collaborating with WinstonNet, Kramden Institute and our Winston-Salem and Forsyth County Schools on this important initiative,” said Peggy Reingold, Wells Fargo’s community affairs officer. “The prosperity of young people is a critical element in a strong and thriving community, and Wells Fargo is committed to providing the students of Forsyth County with every possible resource to achieve long-term success. Our goal is to help build strong and vibrant communities, improve the quality of life and make a positive difference.”

The “Geek-A-Thon” will conclude on Saturday when over one hundred local students and their families arrive at the Rhodes Center to receive their computers. Wells Fargo volunteers will train the students on their new computers and show them some of the many educational programs pre-loaded on the machines.

refurbishing

refurbishing

“Kramden is thrilled to once again partner with Wells Fargo and WinstonNet on behalf of students across Forsyth County. The success of last year’s Geek-A-Thon surpassed everybody’s expectations and we’re excited to again bring hundreds of volunteers together to refurbish computers for student’s personal, home use,” said Michael Abensour, Executive Director of the Kramden Institute. “There is simply nothing better than awarding these computers to over a hundred deserving students on Saturday and helping to close the digital divide one family at a time.”

Jim DeCristo, Chair of the WinstonNet Board, said “Last year was a great success.  We are thrilled to build on that success with Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo deserves special recognition for investing so much of their employee’s time towards such a worthy cause.  We know that putting a computer into a home changes lives and, as with last year’s event, the benefits will affect at least 100 families in our community.”

The students were nominated as a result of a partnership between WinstonNet, a local non-profit dedicated to bridging the digital divide in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, and Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.

The original article can be found here.

Virginia Beach Recycle Drive & WTKR Interview

On Saturday, September 17th, Kramden Institute held a recycle drive in Virginia Beach, VA in partnership with Southern Bank. It was our second recycle drive in Virginia Beach and our third sponsored by Southern Bank. 98 desktops, 20 laptops, and 45 monitors were collected at the event.

Southern Bank promoted the recycle drive through TV ads on WTKR, the CBS affiliate in the Virginia Beach area. As part of the promotion, Kramden was featured on the Coast Live show to talk about our work and the (then) upcoming event.


Read more here

 

Johnston County Students Receive Free Computers

 

KidComputers1

By Abbie Bennet, News & Observer
Reposted from the News & Observer

Technology is so prevalent that it’s easy to think all students have access to computers and Internet in their homes, or can get to a library to complete assignments.

But that’s not reality.

“We need a computer for school,” said Marvin Guerrero, an eighth-grader at Selma Middle School. “We use them a lot. It’s hard if you don’t have one or if you can’t get a ride to the library.”

“This is going to be a big help for us,” said Tyisha Melvin, Guerrero’s mom.

Earlier this month, 31 students in grades 3-12 from across Johnston County who attended summer enrichment programs at Selma Middle School received desktop computers to take home. The students attended Selma Middle School STEAM and Summer Reading for Educational Advancement and Development, four-week programs to help enhance learning, prevent summer learning loss and ensure students maintain good nutrition through the summer.

“There’s a technology gap that we want to help address,” said Selma Middle School Teacher of the Year Tarsha Johnson.

The computers were a gift from the Kramden Institute, a Durham nonprofit that helps provide technology and training to students without a computer at home.

Students accepted their computers on Aug. 12, when they also received instruction in how to use them.

Kristina Zuidema, office manager at Kramden, spent time with students and parents teaching them the operating system installed on their new computers – Ubuntu, a Linux-based system. Unlike Windows and other operating systems, Zuidema said Ubuntu was especially resistant to viruses.

Zuidema started with the basics of hardware setup and care, and most of the students were quick studies or already familiar with computers, despite not having one at home.

“I know how to use one,” said Melanie Zavaleta, a sixth-grader. “This is a little different, but it seems really cool.

“I think it’s going to be a big help with my school work,” Zavaleta added.

The computers will benefit more than the students who received them, Kramden officials pointed out. Siblings and parents will benefit too, they said.

“You can use this, but your parents can use it too,” Zuidema said.

Johnson is also president and founder of REACH Our Communities. (REACH is short for Reaching Every Adult and Childhood Hardship.) She nominated the students in the summer enrichment programs to receive a computer from the Kramden Institute.

“They’re really excited, and we’re excited for them,” Johnson said. “Sometimes you’d never know a student lacked this kind of technology at home, and many families take the advantage of having a home computer for granted. It really makes a difference for these students and families.

“The computers will impact not only the kids but their parents too,” Johnson added. “They’ll have an opportunity to use the technology to job search at home. That’s important in helping our families be successful.”

Computers are prolific, and making sure that these students and their families have access to technology was key, said Cari DelMariani, director of programs for the Kramden Institute.

“Computers are so essential for students today,” she said. “ It’s pretty much impossible for them to be able to keep up if they don’t have some type of technology in their home.

“It’s an amazing feeling to come provide that technology to so many students.”

The computers came installed with more than 60 programs for students to use, including educational programs, web browsers and software for editing photos, audio and video.

Kramden also provides technical support for the computers for as long as the students are in school, Zuidema said.

“So you can call us if you have any problems and we can help you out,” she said. “We’re here for you if you need us.”

“We make sure the students know how to use all the programs on the computers so that they can fully use their new technology when they get home,” DelMariani said.

Students and parents carefully carried their monitors, towers, keyboards and mice to their cars after learning how to use them.

“It’s important to have a computer at home so that I can learn all year and not just at school,” said Malachi McDuffie, a seventh-grader.

“As a teacher at Selma Middle School, I see firsthand the obstacles that our students face every day,” Johnson said. “We (REACH Our Communities) are here to provide support to the students and the families by equipping them with the resources and knowledge that they need to overcome these obstacles. We want our communities to be safe and full of productive, law-abiding citizens, and the only way I know to ensure that is to educate the kids and their parents. This is our goal.”

Read more here

 

Job Seeking in the Digital Age Class Graduates

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Berthe receives her certificate from Marshall Burkes, Technology Education Coordinator at Kramden Institute, and Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger.

Kramden Institute and the Town of Chapel Hill completed the graduation of the second ‘Job Seeking in the Digital Age’ course at the Chapel Hill Public Library on Thursday, June 2.

Thirty adults from Chapel Hill public housing communities have now completed the course. Participants spend four weeks learning about online career resources, how to write an effective resumé and cover letter, the best ways to submit  job applications online and via email, and how to present themselves professionally in interviews and on social media.

Graduates receive a free laptop upon graduating from the course. The class and laptops were sponsored by Google Fiber.

The Mayor of Chapel Hill, Pam Hemminger, addressed the graduates in a congratulations speech and presented certificates to graduates. Berthe, a participant in multiple Kramden classes, hugged Hemminger as she received her certificate.

“Because I love the class so much I’m here a second time,” Berthe said. “[The course] has made me feel better so I don’t need to find jobs posted on the street. I can now go online to find them.”

Berthe loves the library, and she keeps library cards for herself and her six children. She was excited when she learned about this job readiness class, since she enjoyed her experience in Kramden’s Digital Literacy class last year.

Chris, who is currently working in the food industry and is an aspiring writer/blogger, looks forward to using his computer for a job search and writing practice.

During the final class session, Shannon Bailey, a reference librarian at the Chapel Hill Public Library, spoke about how to get a library card and showed students how to access the library portals to Lynda.com and Tutor.com.

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