Old King’s Orchard Community Center (OKOCC) in Decatur, Illinois, serves a neighborhood of 40 square blocks as well as the community beyond. The neighborhood currently faces daily challenges concerning low employment rates, struggling academic progress, and decreasing community prosperity. The center provides a meeting place for work and play, hosting much-needed programs such as an open gym night, GRE classes, Boy Scouts, a parent union, work and life skills training, community events, and a successful after-school program. However, there is no place where patrons of the center can actively work, indiviually and collaboratively, on computers. This is particularly trying as the success of individuals greatly requires the ability to use and engage with technology comfortably. In order to support the OKOCC’s goals of academic success, higher education enrollment and civic pride, community members must have resources to energize and improve their quality of life as well as that of the neighborhood itself.
The goal of the Decatur group of Martin Wolske’s spring 2012 LIS451 class is to build and equip a technology resource room that can be used to support OKOCC’s mission of growth and improved quality of life for the neighborhood. It is our hope that a technology resource room will be a safe space for children to do homework and improve their academic skills, provide the community with recreational and educational technology, develop necessary digital literacy among the community’s children, teens and adults, act as an accessible resource for employment research and application, and act as an incentive for the surrounding populations to engage within the center and increase positive community involvement.