While all young people need opportunities to master and "own" emerging technologies to develop the skills that lead to successful adult lives, these opportunities are limited or nonexistent in disenfranchised communities. As long as young people in these neighborhoods are excluded from exposure, access and training, the digital divide will remain and deepen. With training and support, these young people can and do play vital roles as technology "pollinators," ensuring that their families, friends and communities participate in and recognize some of the benefits of the Information Age.
Youth Tech Corps offers paid internships to youth ages 14-22 to learn computer basics and various software applications such as Photoshop and Flash, and then to apply these skills in support of E-Communty Connect. Youth Tech Corps was essential in installing and maintaining the computers in homes of families in the Parenthood Plus program. They also created the on-line animated storybooks and on-line nutrition counting and color books for Parenthood Plus.
The Fund's most recent Youth Tech Corps operates at the GrandParent Family Apartments (GFA) in the Bronx, built by Presbyterian Senior Services and the West Side Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing. GFA provides 50 safe, affordable apartments and support services to grandparents who are raising 92 grandchildren, ranging in age from 1 to 20 years old. Each of the 50 apartments has a computer and Internet access. Members of the GFA Youth Tech Corps have learned computer basics and are now responsible for the maintenance and support for all the computers in the GFA apartments.