East Gainesville Initiative offers computer classes


Published: Thursday, January 31, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 30, 2008 at 4:38 p.m.

Forget pricey computer courses.

Free individualized computer classes for beginners to advanced users are available for free, thanks to the Santa Fe Community College Outreach and the East Gainesville Initiative.

“Our goal is to bridge the digital divide and we’re very hopeful the people in east Gainesville will take advantage of what we can offer,” said Dr. Karen Cole-Smith, director of SFCC Outreach and the East Gainesville Initiative.

Computer classes, which will be offered year-round on Saturdays, with course offerings determined on a quarterly basis, will be held at the Mount Carmel Baptist Church Family Life Center, 2505 NE 8th Ave.

The schedule for this quarter runs through Saturday, March 29, and the next set of classes will take place from 10 a.m.-noon and 12:30-2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 9. Creating a spreadsheet and excel tips will be taught in the morning and basic computer tips for beginners will be covered in the afternoon.

Other classes will take place on Feb. 23, March 15 and March 29. Techniques will consist of working with clip art and pictures, word processing, creating your own Web page, hardware tips, managing your files, crating folders, copying files, and more.

To register is easy. Just call (352) 381-3840 or e-mail mary.smith@sfcc.edu or karen.cole-smith@sfcc.edu.

Cole-Smith said space is limited to 10 students per class, and participation is on a first-come, first-served basis.

“We want to keep the class to 10 people so they’ll have individual attention,” said Cole-Smith, adding that instructor Tammy Rich and the students will use top-of-the- line Dell desktop computers.

Last Saturday, the cold and the rain appeared to have kept students away from the computer class.

Adrian Allen, a deacon at Mount Carmel, and church member James Smith, also the husband of Cole-Smith, took the opportunity to check e-mail at the computer lab.

“People are not taking advantage of the free classes,” said Allen. “I think it will be a benefit once a lot of classes are scheduled and people use the resources.”

“The program just got started,” said Smith. “The word has to get out that free computer classes are available.”

Cole-Smith said a technical grant that ended in December 2007 provided the funding to get computers and instruction to the youngsters, but this program is geared for the entire family.

“Computer knowledge is so necessary,” said Cole-Smith. “To get a job, many employers require people apply by using computers, and many jobs are posted online.”

“It’s also about life-long learning and that information is available here (on the Internet), continued Cole-Smith. “We want entire families to benefit from some type of computer classes.”

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