The Daily Plant : Wednesday, February 13, 2002
SPINNING NEW WEBS AT PARKS
The latest word from chipmakers and software developers is that digital technology will continue to grow at an accelerating rate. Luckily, two new tech-savvy offerings from Parks’ Computer Resource Center (CRC) promise to help children and adults master the ever-changing world of cyberspace.
The first new CRC program underway is the Email Pen Pal Project, which kicked off this January at Hamilton Fish, Sorrentino, Lost Battalion Hall and Fort Hamilton recreation centers. The program first helped 31 after-school children to create their own email addresses and then paired each student with a pen pal from a different recreation center around the city. Already the children have started electronic correspondences, sharing their interests and goals. 8-year-old Angelique writes to her pen pal, Nicole, "I like running and swinging. My favorite music is Eve. My favorite food is lasanga [sic]. I will be a basketball player." At the end of the school year, pen pals will have the opportunity to meet each other at a party thrown at one of the participating centers.
"The Email Pen Pal Project is a fun, safe, approachable way for beginners to learn about email and the Internet," explains Ariel Behr, Director of Computer Resource Centers. "I hope that this project is the first step towards future special events such as Internet chess tournaments or Internet based intergenerational projects." Behr adds that the Fort Hamilton Senior Center will soon join the pen pal pool, with 39 senior citizens setting up their own email accounts and entering the world of cyber communication. In this way, CRC hopes to bridge the generation gap by creating an open atmosphere in which children and seniors can learn from each other.
The more sophisticated Teen Tech program will launch its new season on February 25, when teens at Sunset Park Recreation Center begin learning the techniques and logic behind smart and effective web design. Following the successes of web design classes piloted at Jackie Robinson and St. John’s recreation centers, CRC has expanded this budding Teen Tech program. The classes, which will now be offered at both St. John’s and Sunset Park, will provide students the chance to strengthen writing and creative skills, while learning industry-standard html, Adobe PhotoShop, and more.
The Sunset Park program will form a diverse instructional partnership by teaming the center’s CRC coordinator, Manny Santiago, with volunteer teachers. Volunteers from New York University will lead activities that the students will then document and use as material for a student-created website. Hong Qu, a professional web designer who lives in Sunset Park, and Santiago, will lead a Dreamweaver and HTML programming course. At St. John’s Recreation Center, instructor Glenda Springer, a professional web designer and Crown Heights-native, will teach design fundamentals while encouraging teens to utilize the web as a means of finding their voices.
"Teen Tech is a hands-on, educational program where teens will express their creativity while developing valuable job skills," says Behr. "I am thrilled about the support of volunteers who have helped develop the curriculum and who will be the main project leaders."
In 1997, Parks opened its first Computer Resource Center at Alfred E. Smith Recreation Center with the goal of providing free multimedia computer access to park patrons young and old. Thanks to the hard work of Parkies and Parks friends, seventeen more CRCs have opened at recreation centers citywide, and attendance has risen to over 2200 visitors per week. And with new programs being developed, CRC promises to help prepare all New Yorkers for tomorrow’s new media developments.
By Ariel Behr, Carrie Campbell, and Eric Adolfsen
THIRTEEN YEARS AGO IN THE PLANT
(Wednesday, February 22, 1989)
ONWARD AND UPWARD: CASTRO AND DIGGS
William T. Castro has been promoted to Assistant Commissioner for Recreation, and Ruth Diggs to Director of Recreation, Commissioner Stern announced.
As Chief of Recreation since September 1985, Castro has helped to bring a myriad of new recreational activities to thousands of New Yorkers each year. Parks recreation programs range now from sports activities to new theater programs and the innovative Recreation for Homeless Children Program.
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
"Rules are made for people who aren't willing to make up their own."
(b. February 13, 1923)