By Jenny Burr –
In today’s society, access to a computer and the Internet is paramount. Many government forms and job applications are only available online. What do you do if you don’t have access to a computer or device or the Internet? How can you learn to use them if you don’t have one?
The Carlington Community Health Centre (CCHC) recognizes the importance of offering access to computers and the Internet as well as learning how to use computers and the Internet, particularly in low-income neighbourhoods.
The first drop-in session for computer use and training took place on March 21 at the Van Lang Field House in Westboro Beach. Andrea Reid, a health promoter at CCHC, is delighted with this new program at the new Field House, located at 29 Van Lang Private.
“This is a Carlington program but we work in partnership with the Millennium Learning Centre (MLC) which is out of Vanier, and they have several sites across the city,” explains Andrea. These programs are often located in areas that are not near a public library.
When a resource centre or a health centre hosts an MLC program, it becomes a welcome opportunity for area residents to use computers and the Internet. Trained volunteers are on hand to teach computer skills to anyone who is interested in learning, free of charge.
MLC is responsible for all tech repairs, and Carlington Community Health Centre provides the volunteer training. Ottawa Community Housing donated the two computers for this program.
Andrea began the process by advertising the need for volunteers in late 2016, and six individuals with computer skills were trained for the positions. Now that the program has launched, Andrea is looking to get the word out.
The drop-in days and times are Tuesdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. to noon and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., and Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. to noon.
The daytime computer hours are more conducive to adults. “With the drop-in being open on Wednesday afternoon for two hours, anyone in the community can come in to use either of the two computers,” says Andrea.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Dovercourt Recreation Association hosts an after school program at Van Lang Field House, so it is possible for the children to use the computers for homework.
As the needs of the community become known, Andrea says that more workshops may be offered. If there’s interest, MLC can host workshops about Microsoft Word, email, and resume writing.
For more information about the Millennium Learning Centre and about other programs, please go to carlington.ochc.org/community.