16 computers find a [San Angelo Standard-Times, Texas :: ]
(San Angelo Standard-Times (TX) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) April 26--SAN ANGELO, Texas -- Lenny Christo's jaw dropped when he saw the outdated and mismatched equipment in the computer lab at the Boys and Girls Clubs of San Angelo.
As its community project, the 31st Leadership San Angelo class raised $2,500 to resurface the BGC playground. Upon seeing the lab's condition, Christo thought the group could do more.
With help from Howard College students, the BGC will have a new wave of computers before summer.
"We want to give students a resource that is applicable for what they need in school now and moving forward to college," said Christo, an LSA participant and e-START grant activity director at Howard College.
The class, along with Angelo State University football players, will remove the old playground surface at the northside BGC on Saturday. By June 1, BGC will have 16 refurbished computers that Christo says are faster than brand-new units.
Leadership San Angelo is a nine-month program in which participants from various businesses and organizations learn about different aspects of San Angelo to better understand the community, said Sandra Pomroy, vice president of chamber operations with the San Angelo Chamber of Commerce.
Each class tours local entities such as hospitals, agriculture facilities and other industries to develop community knowledge and leadership skills, she said.
Through a fellow LSA member, Christo discovered the Concho Valley Workforce Development Board recently upgraded its systems and wanted to repurpose 16 computers that are about 2 to 3 years old.
He reached out to the computer and information sciences department at Howard for a way to reprogram the machines and found an intermediate operating systems class eager to help.
The class of 11 wiped the old systems and used open source software to install free office programming.
Students researched systems to find the best software to benefit the BGC and even installed a few educational games, said Nita Browne, program director of the computer and information sciences department. The project provided hands-on experience the students otherwise would not have gotten, she said.
"I coordinated and pointed out things, but they did it pretty much on their own with things they learned in class," Browne said.
BGC students use the computer lab to study and communicate with other club members across the U.S. through a site called My Club Life, said Ed Lopez, executive director.
Organization officials are grateful and feel fortunate to be selected by LSA for its community project, he said.
Between 150-200 kids drop by the BGC every day, Lopez said. During summer months the facilities serve about 450 students daily.
"The computers are going to get used, I'll tell you that," Lopez said.
Find out more
The next Leadership San Angelo class begins in October. Tuition is $500.
For more information, visit sanangelo.org/chamber/leadershipsanangelo.php.
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