In the culmination of a nine-month program, Rainier Vista’s Digital Connectors graduated June 16. Along the way, the students received valuable technology, communications and leadership training. They also made a few friends.
“My experience here has been great,” said Tin Thai, a Digital Connector who served as emcee for the graduation ceremony. “I’ve met new people and learned a lot of new things.”
The group was trained to provide technical support for community members who were new to computers — not uncommon in the Rainier Vista neighborhood, which is home to a significant group of older adults and immigrant and refugee families.
Before certificates were awarded, graduates presented a series of educational videos that they had completed as part of the program. The projects tackled such issues as litter, bullying and racism.
After the videos, the group took a break for dinner, which included Vietnamese sandwiches and fresh sambusas.
Afterward, Neighborhood House Executive Director Mark Okazaki provided words of support to the group, then presented a certificate to each graduate.
The Digital Connectors have made a meaningful and measurable contribution to their community — as Program Instructor Kat McGhee of Neighborhood House noted, the 15 graduates logged a total of 900 community service hours over the course of the nine-month program.
“As an instructor I have been incredibly lucky to be connected to such a smart, engaged and energetic group of youth,” McGhee said.
The event had the relaxed atmosphere of the last day of school. The 15 students expressed the happiness and satisfaction that they had successfully completed a challenging program—and what’s more, that they had done so as a team.
“One of the most rewarding parts of the program was seeing the group become more cohesive and by the later part of the year, all become friends,” McGhee said.
Support for the program came from the City of Seattle Department of Information Technology, Comcast and the One Economy Corporation.