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January 7th, 2011 by Admin

Hello, and welcome to the partial list of project pages for the UIUC engagement with Second Chance Shelter in East St. Louis, IL.

Summary of Work and Request for Meeting

December 4th, 2008 by Admin

Dear Rev. Smith:

This semester, through a class taught by Martin Wolske, I have been working with five classmates to design and install a new computer lab for the residents at the Second Chance Shelter. During a visit on November 14 and 15, three of us brought in new equipment and set up six workstations in the basement conference room. We also conducted a brief training session with Sharon Jackson, another shelter staff member, and two volunteers. We were not, however able to get the computers connected to the Internet because cable had to be run from the first floor router to the basement. A young man who works at the shelter, Ricky, worked much of that Saturday afternoon to run the cable, but our group had to leave before he could finish this big job.

Sharon indicated that her contract as shelter director was finished as of Dec. 1, and that I should contact you to make arrangements to return to finish the work. I am writing to let you know that I, and possibly one other group member, plan to return to East St. Louis this coming Friday and Saturday (December 5 and 6) to finish the work in the computer lab and get the machines online. There are also a few other minor things that need to be done to improve security of the systems and to make sure that all the machines have the same software available on them. It would be helpful if there were a staff member available one of those days for some additional training on maintaining the system.

Could you please advise me whether I will be able to have access to the lab on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning/afternoon to finish the work? Also, if you could identify someone at the shelter (Ricky, perhaps) that could be available for a brief introduction to the administrative upkeep of the system some time on Saturday, then I should be able to make sure that the lab is fully operational by the end of the day on Saturday.

I look forward to hearing from you and to continuing my work with Second Chance Shelter.


Good morning, I received your e-mail, I thank you for you gifts of time and talents in helping the Second Chance Shelter.

Friday and Saturday the 5th and 6th of December will be fine.

Friday Afternoon Mrs. Pinkie Stevens will be there
Saturday Mr. Ricky Perkins will be there.

If you can give me an approximate time on Saturday I will ask Ms. Nakeyia Hopkins to be there

Thank you,
Rev. Smith


Rev. Smith:

I think we will be departing from Champaign at around 7:30 AM on Friday, so we could be in East St. Louis as early as 11 AM, but there is another group that will be heading to a different site with equipment, so it’s possible we will drop them off first.

In terms of doing any training with staff members, I don’t need them there for more than an hour or so. If there is a time on either Friday afternoon or Saturday that would be most convenient for staff, then I could plan on working with them at that time. If it were to be Friday afternoon, it would probably be best if it were in the later part of the afternoon (say, after 3) so that I have some time to get the Internet connection working first.

I’m looking forward to my return visit tomorrow and to completing my work on the lab.

Internet connection and upcoming trip

November 20th, 2008 by Admin

Dear Sharon:

It’s Wednesday afternoon and I’m getting ready for a 3 PM class and thought I would send you a message to see if everything is going OK with the lab and whether some of the residents have been able to use the computers since we left on Saturday evening.

I am really sorry that we weren’t able to get the Internet connection working to the lab network. I know that the computers are of somewhat limited use without it. Still, we should be able to get them online first thing when we return some time December 5th or 6th. I’m not sure about the travel plans yet, but I will let you know as soon as they are confirmed. We are working on some additional help documents and on a program that will prevent downloaded files and residents personal files from being saved on the computer indefinitely. We will take care of these additional items on our next visit.

I wanted to thank you again for your hospitality this past weekend. Please extend our thanks to Ricky and the other staff members and volunteers. We really enjoyed working with all of you and getting to know you a bit better. I’m not sure which other group members will be able to travel in December, but I am already looking forward to the trip! In the meantime, please feel free to e-mail or phone me if there are any problems with the machines or if you think of anything else that you would like us to work on to make the lab more useful to your residents.

I’d also like to wish you and your family and all the shelter residents and staff a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving.


Everything is OK so far. We are looking forward to hooking up to Internet. I probably won’t be here when you come the next time. My contract is up with Second Chance December 1.

On behalf of the shelter we are more than grateful for your efforts to help our residents move toward a better job and permanency.

Thanks for everything!!! You will want to contact Rev. Smith who is president of the Board (e-mail address above) to notify him as to what time you will be here. Since Ricky works Saturday I’m sure there will be no problems.

Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Sharon E. Jackson, MSW
Executive Director
Ministers United Against Human Suffering
Second Chance Shelter
240 North Sixth Street
East St. Louis, Illinois 62203
(618) 482-5662
(618) 874-0223 Fax

Trip Schedule

November 12th, 2008 by Admin

Dear Sharon:

Thank you for your voice mail message yesterday. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to return your call right away. I was in class pretty solid all day, and I wanted to double-check with the group before I got back to you with a time for training. In the meantime, Martin contacted us with a slightly revised schedule for the weekend, which I will lay out below.

For the training session, we were thinking Saturday afternoon starting at around 1:30 PM and lasting until 3 PM or so.  It could be longer or shorter depending on what questions everyone might have or other things that come up as we talk. For the session, we will definitely cover some basic maintenance and troubleshooting tips for the computers and we will go through some of the features of the Linux Operating System since I would guess that it’s probably new to everyone (it was to us a couple of months ago). I wanted to ask, though, if there were any other specifics that you would like us to cover. Since we’re not sure with what experience level everyone is coming to the session, we don’t want to waste time repeating things, but we also want the time to be meaningful to you and the volunteers. So, if there is anything you’d like us to make sure to include, such as setting up an e-mail account, creating a document in the word processing software, whatever it might be, please let me know any time (even if it’s on the day of the session–we will do our best to include it!)

Also, if you could let me know approximately how many people might be attending the training, that would be great. That way, if we have any important handouts, we can make sure we have enough for everyone.

Here is the schedule as Martin thinks it stands right now. If you see any times that won’t work for you, please let me know and we will see what we can do to alter our group’s schedule.


11:15 to noon-ish: Stop by Second Chance to drop off computers and other equipment. This will only be for a few moments. We will return after lunch to begin the setup.

1:15 PM: Return to Second Chance to begin the set up of the lab and any other needed work (such as customizing desktops on the computers, setting up Internet monitoring software, etc.)

5:00 PM: Depart Second Chance to rejoin other groups for dinner.


8:45 AM: Return to Second Chance to finish any additional setup/software installation/customization.

11:45 AM: Leave for lunch with other groups.

1:00 PM: Return from lunch.

1:30 to 3 PM: Training with Sharon and volunteers

4:00 PM: Wrap up and reflection on project

5:00 PM: Depart for Champaign

First Contact

November 11th, 2008 by Admin

Dear Sharon:

We’re the Library Science group that is working to install a computer lab at your facility. We’re traveling to East Saint Louis this Friday and Saturday to set up the lab and to work with you and any other staff members or volunteers to do some training on the Linux operating system and some basic maintenance of the machines.

We are hoping to start working on the setup just after lunch time on Friday (Nov. 14), and the plan is to work until dinner time then return on Saturday to finish any set-up and probably do the training once the lab is installed. Please let me know if these times will work with your schedule.

I also just wanted to check and see whether your Internet service is currently functioning (to the best of your knowledge).

Again, we look forward to working with you at the end of this week to provide a computer lab to the residents at Second Chance.