One Economy Corporation's Digital Connectors program has young people helping their community through technology. Here are two brothers who worked in the program:
Jeremy and Justin Smith have enjoyed working with computers for years. Now the 16-year-old twins from south Chicago are learning enough to teach others – thanks to One Economy’s Digital Connectors program. In the fall of 2005, the engaging teenagers enrolled in the One Economy Digital Connectors course to prepare them for A+ certification in computer set-up and troubleshooting. Participants in the program received a small stipend and One Economy paid the fee for taking the A+ certification test.
Jeremy and Justin are already using their skills to help others – friends in the neighborhood, teachers at their school and even an occasional paying client who needs assistance with a computer problem.
“The Digital Connectors program is really great,” says Jeremy. “It gets kids involved with the community. I like giving back and this program gives me an opportunity to do that.”
Adds Justin: “It gives kids alternatives to just standing around on the street. It teaches them something that will be useful to their futures.” Despite a busy schedule that includes the computer training, coaching a little league team and participating in a robotics competition, the twins are already thinking about their future. Both are taking a course at a nearby college and they’re making plans for the computer business they hope to open someday. Also in the boys’ plans: a community center in Chicago to offer technology training to people in the area. “It’s something we really want to make happen,” says Jeremy.
One Economy’s work in Chicago has been generously supported by the Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
There are dozens of stories like this that come out of the Digital Connectors program. When you help kids to learn to help others, it's always a win-win situation.