[ Update ]

Outreach Weekend Report

October 21 & 22, 2005


by Martin Wolske

I'm pleased to say this was a highly successful weekend. Here's the summary for this past weekend's work weekend in East St. Louis.

We had 26 students, 4 GA's/hourlies, 1 volunteer, and 1 instructor travel to East St. Louis. Primary goals for the weekend were to:

* visit 6 community organizations in and around East St. Louis (a 7th organization was visited in Kankakee by a group before joining us in East St. Louis) to determine their needs for a computer lab in preparation for final project work to recycle and deliver a computer lab to the organization at the end of the semester;

* refurbish and prepare 50 computers for distribution to individuals within the East St. Louis community who have completed computer training and/or performed community service within community technology centers in East St. Louis.

We were able to meet or exceed both goals over the day and a half the class was in East St. Louis. Each group of students who visited the community organizations were received warmly and were provided a rich understanding of the challenges of the community and how a given organization was working to address those challenges. While one group of students was visiting their assigned organization, the other groups worked to refurbish computers. In total, 52 computers were prepared for distribution to the community over the course of the weekend. It was a great help to have a large quantity of good computers to use for this purpose, many of which came from bulk donations by the Carle Foundation, Parkland College, and Don Holt, a partner in East St. Louis. Don Holt also provided resources for recycling the bad computers and peripherals and also for storage of some surplus monitors and equipment. Mt. Zion proved to be a wonderful facility for refurbishing computers. They are also providing the facilities to store the computers until the can be distributed to individuals. Beyond the primary goals, students had wonderful opportunities to interact with members from the community, not only during the visits to the 6 community organizations, but also during lunches at Mt. Zion Baptist Church and Mt. Olive Baptist Church (thanks to Mt. Olive for providing lunch on Saturday). It was exciting to see students and the community interacting during these and other downtimes in the schedule. Many students expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to participate in this trip and have asked about possible additional opportunities to participate. Many thanks to Vicki and Bridgette for their help in accommodating this extra trip to East St. Louis. Special thanks to Katharine Chandler, Matt Cordial, Pankhuri Kathuria, Beth Larkee, and Ji-Hak Park for their excellent help in coordinating the various aspects of the trip.

Last modified: January 6, 2006 ; Vicki Eddings