Improved Computer Access for City Kids

Organization Information:

Organization Name:
Central Community Services, Inc.
City & State:
St. Paul, 
Organization Website:
Organization's Mission Statement

Central Community Services, Inc. exists to match abundant resources with quality programs that engage our organization in effective educational, artistic, and community development endeavors in the Midway community of St. Paul, MN.

Submission Information

Impact Essay

At Central Baptist Church it is our desire to be God’s Love Alive in the Midway of the Twin Cities. In the tradition of the early Swedish immigrants who started the church more than 100 years ago, the people of this urban congregation decided to start an afterschool tutoring program for children in the area. More than 10 years ago, Central launched it’s afterschool tutoring program designed to reach children who were considered to be “at risk” of failure.

It is our priority as a program to match each student with their own tutor who meets with them twice a week at the church. Volunteers pick the children up from school in the church’s vehicles. Volunteers prepare snacks to welcome the kids when they arrive. And more than 30 tutors make commitments to meet with their student to mentor them in their academics, their social growth, and set an example of commitment and care.

This year, because of a Tech Soup grant and the donation of some used computers, we were able to further our program’s impact by adding computer education. It has been a long-time goal of the program that we would be able to provide experience with computers as a means to help close the education gap between children of privilege and children in our city schools who have limited access.

Of our 29 children this year, most of them do not have access to a computer at home. The donation sof Microsoft Windows operating system and Microsoft Office Programs, our kids have been able to play educational games, do research, and build their computer literacy. It was such a gift and a joy to watch the children take turns on the computers. Truly they were overjoyed at the things they were able to do, and over the last year, we saw children build computer skills that will assist them as they grow and learn.

After the computer lab was up and running for our kids, we were excited to offer a pilot program this year to assist parents. We started a Tuesday evening family literacy program that offers computer classes, parenting classes, and English language classes. With the help of an adult mentor, some of our parents were able to practice their keyboarding skills and learn to navigate through Windows 2007.

But the impact of the Central Computer Lab does not end with the users of the lab, however. Most of our tutors are college students who give of their time to work with our city kids. These college students are able to share their computer skills with their students. It is our hope to not only guide and grow strong, successful young people through our tutoring program, but also to grow strong, giving, and aware young adults who will soon be entering the work force.

After School @ Central Tutoring is a relatively small program, working with about 25-30 kids each year, but the impact is exponential as children often grow in our program starting in kindergarten or first grade and staying until sixth grade. Our new computer lab only adds to the experience we are able to offer our community. It enhances our ability to tutor the children in our neighborhood and has allowed us to launch our new Family Literacy Program. We are grateful and hopeful as we continue to serve our community with our new computer lab and Microsoft software.

Submission Category
Transformations to Maximize Impact