07/11/05 — Club shows off new computer lab at open house

View Archive

Club shows off new computer lab at open house

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on July 11, 2005 1:45 PM

Seven-year old Savannah Parker's dad, Michael, is 38, and she is teaching him about the computer.

"She knows where to find the nature sites, the wildlife, the insects," he said. "She gets on there and, click. She's all up on this. Now, I'm going to have to learn what spam is."

Savannah Parker was among several members of the Boys & Girls Club of Wayne County who served food and greeted visitors during an open house and reception Thursday afternoon at the Royall Avenue club's new computer center.

The computers are helping the members develop skills they can use later, board chairman Grant Webber said during the computer center's dedication ceremony.

"It's all about these kids, and we want to give them a better future," he said.

The members' favorite room is the computer center, director Mary Ann Dudley said. She said this summer the members are creating a cartoon and putting their own voice on it.

She said she applied to the Beaumont Foundation for grants to help put computers in all three clubs, Royall Avenue, Mount Olive and Fremont. She said including all of the equipment and software, the foundation and local contributors have provided about $130,000.

Mount Olive received the first computers.

"They're three months ahead of us," she said. "It's because of the community that we received the grant for the three communities."

Time Warner Cable Co. ran wires to hook up the computers to the Internet and installed Roadrunner, and staff and students from Wayne Community College provided technical support.

The members are using the 10 notebook computers now, and at the end of the summer, the Wayne Community College students will be back in town to help hook them up to the Internet.

Savannah Parker and Shantia Evans, 10, helped serve food to about 20 visiting adults during the reception. Chiles and Hams donated the spread, and the ushers politely waited for the adults to eat first, saying all the right things like "yes, ma'am" and "no, thank you."

"I'm excited," Shantia said. She said she has been enjoying Net Smart. She said the program "tells you to be safe while you're on the Internet."

Shantia lives in Elm City with her mother, Shannon. This is her first time attending the Boys & Girls Club of Wayne County.

Her mother said she has a computer at home, but Shantia, being an only child, especially enjoys using the computer with the other children.

Akiva Johnson, 10, of Goldsboro has been coming to the club all the time since she started last month. Her sister, Victoria Coley, 6, sat at the greeting table and told people how they can help the Boys & Girls Club. She had guests sign a ledger when they came into the reception and passed out free candy.

The new computer lab is good for the girls, said their grandmother, Deborah Howard. They live in the New Hope area of Wayne County.

"I think it's wonderful that they're doing this," she said. "I wish I'd had that advantage. They've learned so much since they've been coming here. It's wonderful."

The girls have been watching their manners since coming to the Boys & Girls Club, Ms. Howard said. They want to be involved in everything, and they ask her to be a part of everything that goes on at the club. "And I'm thrilled to be a part of it."

She said she's proud of them. Akiva is going into the fifth grade.

"They come home and run Grandma off the computer," she said. "But I don't mind."

The male ushers took turns manning the post outside in the heat with a blue hand saying "Open House This Way," which they used to wave people into the club for the open house.

One of them was Tyrek Lewis, 9, of Goldsboro, an artist. He has done many of the paintings on display during the open house. He and Julius Murphy, 9, have been ushers at several of the club's events.

The club's development coordinator, Sarah Wheeler, said it's amazing how talented the members are.

"They're really good, and the more we showcase them, I believe the more it will bring them out of their shells."