Scholars Program Dedicates Computer Lab
are what makes a program like this work," said Triumph
Scholars program coordinator Aubrey Swett.
Swett spoke at the
Feb. 28th dedication of a new computer lab at the Clinton L. Thomas
Jr. Community Center near Strickland Heights housing project in Pembroke.
An elaborate collaboration
of resources -- that included a university, the public schools, two
foundations, several businesses, a local tribal non-profit, a religious
group and community volunteers came together to construct a lab in one
of the poorest neighborhoods of Pembroke.
we would like to emphasize is that people near and far care about our
children," said Gene Brayboy, project co-director and director
of UNCP's Office of Sponsored Research and Programs. "A lot of
work went into this project and a lot of people are excited about it."
The lab consists
of 15 Gateway networkded computers and connected to the Internet. Fifty-eight
fourth and fifth-graders from Pembroke Elementary School are enrolled
in the Triumph College Preparatory program that will ultimately serve
Working for UNCP's
Office of Sponsored Research and Programs, Swett formed the alliances
that created the after-school, college preparatory program.
- Power Up, a public/private,
non-profit organization that is dedicated to coming to the aid of
America's children by "bridging the digital divide," provided
the computer hardware, software and networking.
- The Public Schools
of Robeson County provided the cabling and installation for the local
area network (LAN).
- Time Warner/AOL
provided Internet access and American Online e-mail accounts.
- Burnt Swamp Baptist
Association won the grant for the project from Z. Smith Reynolds foundation.
- Lumbee Regional
Development Association (LRDA) and the Pembroke Housing Authority
made the community building at Strickland Heights available.
- The project was
designed and administered by the Kenan Institute at UNC-Chapel Hill.
- UNCP provided
grant assistance, coordination and data cabling.
- Volunteers Ronald
Hunt provided the lab tables and Tommy Swett installed them.
- Pembroke Hardware
provided electrical hardware and installation.
At the dedication: Rev. Tim Chavis, moderator of the Burnt Swamp
Baptist Association, Gene Brayboy, director of UNCP's Office of
Sponsored Research and Programs, Lucille Locklear of First Bank
in Pembroke, James Hardin, director of Lumbee
Regional Development Association and Aubrey Swett, coordinator
of the Triumph Scholars program.
What are the kids
doing with their new computers?
"We go to Encarta
and get homework help said Tyler Locklear, 11, and a fifth grader at
Pembroke Elementary School. "On the Internet, I go to sites like
"I am using
the Internet to do a report on Australia," said Erin Worriax, 10.
"The most amazing thing about Australia is the animals. They are
unique to Australia."
The school children
were on hand for the dedication as was the Rev. Tim Chavis, moderator
of the Burnt Swamp Baptist Association.
is honored to be a partner with the university in making this project
happen," Rev. Chavis said. "Children are an important part
of our mission."
"This is a
home-grown effort," Swett said. "Volunteers built the work
stations with materials supplied by Pembroke Hardware."
The lab will find
other uses when the Triumph Scholars are not there, Swett said.
"We are also
working with Pembroke Boys and Girls Club, which uses this building,"
he said. "Residents here at Strickland Heights and the surrounding
neighborhood will also be involved."
Swett was still
building partnerships as the event drew to a close. He was discussing
with Lucille Locklear of First Bank how her employees could volunteer
at the center.
For more information,
contact Aubrey Swett at 910.521.6494.
to University Newswire