LAKE CHAPALA REVIEW
LOVE IN ACTION CHILDREN'S CENTER
CENTRO AMOR EN ACCIÓN
MAY 2012

KIDS AND COMPUTERS
Donna Esposito

Lakeside resident Larry Laframboise has put his many years of computer systems experience to good use at Love In Action. With the help of Earl Brown, he’s been running a Computer Lab for the kids for about three years. For many of the kids, it’s their only chance to get hands-on time with a computer and their only opportunity to become familiar with technology.

There are about 20 computers at the facility. Access to the Lab is available two days a week, Wednesday and Thursday, for 2 hours. Based on first-come, first-served, there are enough computers to accommodate the interested kids most of the time. They must spend the first hour with educational games but are allowed to use the Internet (supervised) after that.

There is not a formal “computer training” session for the kids at this time. “Language is still a bit of a challenge as we have only one Spanish-speaking volunteer,” explained Laframboise. “It would be good to teach the kids Excel, Word and Email, but we need to have more volunteers who speak Spanish to do that.” Still, the kids are quick to learn how to use the equipment. One little girl was taught to use the keyboard and Google and rapidly found her way to the “Dora the Explorer” web site.

Needs at the Computer Lab are simple: more educational games (in Spanish) and more volunteers to spend time with the kids. Better bandwidth would be terrific, as the current line is shared with the telephone system at LIA. Given the age of the computers and limited bandwidth, access to the Internet is often really, really slow.

Laframboise has seen the volunteer force come and go but feels that right now the need for a few extra volunteers is most important. He’s a busy guy - he’s also in the middle of creating a music program for the LIA kids. A variety of instruments have been donated – violins, drums, guitars, a piano – and music classes have been set up. That means music practice! Volunteers are needed to supervise the 15-minute practice sessions for the budding musicians.

If you want to learn more or volunteer at Love in Action, contact Kari at volunteers@loveinactioncenter.org.

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