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Lopez’s Family Resource Center computer lab is a hit

Three weeks ago the Lopez Island Family Resource Center (FRC) set up its newest addition, a computer lab funded by a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grant.

The lab consists of two desk-top computers and a lap top, a scanner, a color printer and a laser printer. The computers are all equipped with Microsoft Office programs.

And more is on the way. There are plans to add two computers, one more PC and one Imac, General Education Diploma (GED) and digital video software, plus additional programs that have yet to be determined. All of the computers are equipped with cyper-sitter, a filter that blocks inappropriate material.

The computers are for use by the community, and FRC Director Celia Snapp and office manager Patty Bean are available to help those who need assistance using them. The pair is now looking into setting up a usage system for after hours.

Those who have used the computers love them, says Bean. “People’s reactions have been wonderful.”

A wide range of islanders is using the lab. Some are taking advantage of the equipment on-line. Kiyo Oya, a family advocate with FRC, uses the lab with her middle school and high school study groups.

There will be English as a Second Language (ESL) classes starting this week, and 10 islanders have already signed up. “That (ESL) is definitely needed on the island,” Bean said of the high demand for the class.

Snapp and Bean will be learning more about computers from Rich Coppola, their technology advisor. They hope to pass the knowledge to those who use the lab and need assistance. FRC also has plans to offer classes on the effective use of the computers.

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