Welcome Center receives computers

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 4, 2003

The Welcome Center Inc. received a donation Friday of two computers from Austin's Chamber of Commerce.

"We just upgraded our computers and became aware that the Welcome Center had a need for computers and it sounds like they would be put to good use here," Sandy Forstner, executive director of the chamber, said. The Chamber and the Center have worked together in a number of projects and the donation is just a small way to show support, Forstner said.

The computers will be used for the Welcome Center's after-school tutoring and mentoring program Young Minds in Education.

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Through the after school program students from ages 12 to 17, receive help with math, English, writing and science.

"We have kids that have writing assignments and also six students who do not speak English. Working with the computer will help them get familiar with the letters," said Lisvel Valerio, YME coordinator.

Going on its second year, the program has received more support from the school district and community, Valerio said.

Currently there are 22 students enrolled in the program as well as tutors who volunteer from 3:15 to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Because of its nature of providing services to students, Valerio said the program can always use the any type of help.

"The donation comes at a good time," Liliana Silvestry, executive director of the Center, said.

Five computers, which were previously donated, are currently in use for the program.

Unfortunately, Silvestry-Neilon said, some of them are outdated and would need to be completely upgraded to be of more use.

"These two are much newer and faster than what we have. They also have the software that will allow us to add learning programs for the students," Silvestry-Neilon said.

She explained that many of the students need help with math and there are not enough tutors with math knowledge.

With the donation they will at least be able to provide computer programs for the student to use, Silvestry-Neilon said.

"This donation is excellent because it gives youth the opportunity to develop their skills in technology. Now days it is essential to have these skills in order to do well," Silvestry-Neilon said.

The two computers will be hooked to old monitors. If those do not work, they'll need to find two more.

Roxana Orellana can be reached at 434-2214 or by e-mail at :mailto:roxana.orellana@austindailyherald.com