"Empowering Youth through Digital Literacy & Education!"
Computer technology and access to the world-wide web have become fundamental to a child’s education. However, what about families who can’t afford a computer, such as children living in the foster care system across the United States of America?
Our Mission Statement:
To enhance the lives of foster and at risk youth through modern technology by building a sense of academic and life achievement through awareness, advocacy, community-based support services and computer technology. Working Dreams commits to prepare foster and at risk youth for a productive adulthood through technology and life skills education.
Child Welfare and Digital Divide
Child Welfare and the Digital Divide To give youth growing up today the best chances to succeed, they must develop technological literacy. The establishment of a solid skill foundation in the tools of the Information Age, including basic fluency using computers for writing, calculating, communicating, and locating and recalling data, typically requires both formal and informal learning experiences coupled with opportunities for direct contact with computers and digital appliances. Access to functional computers with appropriate software is critical, as is the utilization of available opportunities to practice new skills and build confidence.
The “Digital Divide” demographic factors is associated with less computer access and use, many of which are over represented among children and families involved with Child Welfare (e.g., low income, low parent educational achievement, Hispanic or African American ethnicity). Foster children’s opportunities for computer access, formal skill building and individualized practice may be further complicated by residential instability, educational discontinuity and/or special educational curricula, challenging behavior in the community and unemployment.
Through the Working Dreams Initiative Program, computers will be donated to a variety of non-profit agencies throughout the United States, including middle and high schools, community-based center’s, after care programs, emancipation programs, churches and agencies that offer educational, social and community support services. Working Dreams Initiative Program seeks to ensure that foster and at risk youth in California and throughout the United States have access to Internet and obtain the skills to use the Internet effectively. In addition to accessing and being exposed to computer technology and to have their own computers. The computers have been reconfigured and are capable of accessing the Internet and running basic educational software. The Working Dreams Initiative will form public/private partnerships to help level the playing field for children and adults who do not have access to technology and computer.
Working Dreams will also identify those agencies to teach computer basics such as the Windows operating system. In addition, teach internet safety and computer security and privacy. The high school age student’s core program teaching will include productivity programs such as Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. The main goal of the curriculum is to teach foster children a productive digital lifestyle that they may have not been exposed to. One of the culminating activities is the viewing of the Microsoft PowerPoint presentations developed by the participants demonstrating what they learned over the weekend.
Target Population: Foster and At Risk Youth ages 9 -18 years old.
Children primarily come into foster care after being neglected, with some suffering physical or sexual abuse.
72.5% have been neglected
11.8% have been physically abused
7.8% have been sexually abuse
18.3% have suffered psychological or other maltreatment
Working Dreams Initiative Program Goals:
To improve grades
To improve self esteem
To enhance technological access
To improve technology literacy skills, job skills and a variety of life skills preparation instruction.