Walmart grant to help Latin Center’s youth become computer savvy

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Wilmington, DE — A $25,000 Walmart Grant has been awarded to the Latin American Community Center to support computer literacy programs for 200 youth in the agency’s after-school, evening enrichment, and summer camp programs. Among other skills, youth participating in these programs will learn about computer software, Microsoft Office applications, and computer maintenance and repair.

This grant affords the opportunity for many disadvantaged youth from the city of Wilmington to use computer labs for online tutoring, homework assignments, and project research.

On January 24, Walmart will present the check to Ms. Maria Matos, Executive Director of the Latin American Community Center. Ms. Matos said, “The Latin American Community Center was thrilled and grateful to receive the generous grant of $25,000 from the Walmart Foundation,” Ms. Matos said. The funds will help set youth on the right path for the future by deepening their knowledge of computers and computer technology. Black and Latino youth will make up at least 30% of Delaware’s workforce by 2030. The LACC takes very seriously our job of supporting schools in educating youth to contribute to the future success of our state and nation,” she added.

The grant also supports computer building programs such as Lego Mindstorms, an international robotics competition where youth build and program small robots from Legos, and Junior Tech Club, a program where middle and high school students become peer instructors and assist their classmates with computer-based needs. This past December, twelve youth in the Lego Mindstorms program participated in the Delaware First Lego League tri-state regional qualifying tournament this December.

Youth even learn how a computer is assembled. In fact, since the year 2000, 233 students have rebuilt and upgraded computers from scratch.

Evening enrichment youth have used technology to create a tobacco prevention public service announcement, to be posted on YouTube in 2011.

Steve Villanueva, Director of Information Technology at the Latin American Community Center and head of the youth computer-based programs says that “the purpose is to expose youth to advanced technology…My hope is that because of the exposure that we are able to create a youth inclined to work in the technology field.”

The Latin American Community Center seeks to empower members of the community to become contributing members of society. They accomplish this through advocacy and by offering a continuum of care of programs and services to anyone that seeks assistance from the ages of one to 101. For more information about the Latin American Community Center, please call (302) 655-7338 or visit www.thelatincenter.org