Summer camp preps youth for the Web

A summer camp designed to educate inner-city youth on computer skills starts this week on GW’s campus.

The Cyber-Youth Network Computer Camp, sponsored by the District, DaimlerChrysler Corporation, and Cyber-Youth Network, will teach 23 selected D.C. public school students computer repair, Internet research and Web site design and building.

At the end of the six-week program, each student who completes the curriculum will receive a free computer, including software and Internet access. Also, each “graduate” will be employed as a Cyber-Youth “tech expert” – upgrading, repairing and networking computers and designing and maintaining Web pages for the District’s non-profit and small business communities.

D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams said computer instruction will put students on the right track to succeed in college and the job market.

“Urban kids aren’t connected,” said Williams, who helped introduce the project at a press conference Friday.

CYN president and CEO Terry Lee said it is important to get minority students interested in opportunities on the information superhighway.

“Blacks and Hispanics don’t think there is anything on the Internet for them,” Lee said.

He cited recent reports finding a gap between blacks and whites who use the Internet. CYN is designed to create a resource for minority youth on the Internet, Lee said. The program’s home page, www.cyber-youth.net, contains pertinent information regarding noteworthy African Americans and other minorities.

GW donated computer labs in Funger Hall with Internet access accounts and classroom space to the camps. Volunteers from the Air Force Pentagon Communications Agency and DaimlerChrysler will serve as cyber-mentors and will denote time to teach the students computer and Internet skills.

Tandra Barnett of Margaret M. Washington Career High School said she is “very excited” about the program. Barnett, along with classmate Carol Gerald, were selected to participate in the summer camp by a friend who won an essay contest, which qualified her for the program and allowed her the chance to choose fellow participants from her school.

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