Ward 8 resident learns the art of computer refurbishing. (Courtesy photo)
Ward 8 resident learns the art of computer refurbishing. (Courtesy photo)

Residents in Ward 8 can now utilize the newly renovated Frederick Douglass Community Center, where they can get technology training and purchase refurbished computers for as low as $25.

The District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA), Office of State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), Office of the Chief Technology Officer, Byte Back and Project Reboot welcomed the community to the center on Friday, Feb. 3.

The nearly $450,000 renovated building now features a community and retail space, technology training area, refurbished computers for sale and a commercial kitchen.

“I’m so proud to reopen the doors to the Frederick Douglass Center to the Henson Ridge community and its neighbors,” said Adrianne Todman, DCHA executive director. “Not only will this center bring the community together, but it also will provide job training, computer training, and other opportunities to inspire this community.”

The center’s renovation was made possible through funding from OSSE.

“OSSE is very much involved in supporting families and helping their children be successful in school,” said State Superintendent Hanseul Kang. “We know [now] more than ever that having a working computer in homes benefits not only school children, but their siblings and parents. We are incredibly hopeful that this partnership among D.C. Government agencies, Project Reboot, and Byte Back will begin to address the digital divide in the District while expanding educational opportunities for students and parents.”

Project Reboot’s all-volunteer staff repairs and refurbishes computer equipment donated to their organization, which they then sell to low-income families, people with disabilities and nonprofit agencies at a greatly reduced price.

Project Reboot will spend four days per week rebuilding equipment and two days per week selling their work. The group also plans to offer skills development.

“Project Reboot is excited to come to the District of Columbia,” said Dennis Courtney, president of Capital PC User Group, Inc. and Project Reboot. “We have served D.C. residents for years from our location in Rockville. This new location will allow us to serve D.C. residents by providing computers, repair services, and training all at one location.”

The community center will address another area of the digital divide by offering free technology training to the community in partnership with Byte Back.

This organization improves economic opportunity by providing computer training and career preparation to underserved D.C. residents. Byte Back will offer training — from basic digital literacy through certification classes — in the community room.

The organization will couple this training with job readiness and career support services.

“Byte Back is thrilled to partner with the D.C. Housing Authority and Project Reboot to provide digital training at the Frederick Douglass Community Center,” said Elizabeth Lindsey, executive director of Byte Back. “With the opening of this center, more residents in southeast D.C. will be able to gain computer skills, confidently apply for jobs online, and succeed in digital work environments in the District.”

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Sarafina Wright –Washington Informer Staff Writer

Sarafina Wright is a staff writer at the Washington Informer where she covers business, community events, education, health and politics. She also serves as the editor-in-chief of the WI Bridge, the Informer’s...

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