Organizational Opportunity, Need, or Problem
The Shadow Wood Mobile Park Home is located in northern Champaign, housing 265 units with 850 residents, 60% – 65% of whom are of Hispanic descent. The park is in a historically underserved area of town that struggles with issues of poverty, language barriers, and emergency preparedness. While crime is down in the Shadow Wood area, poverty is on the rise, with an estimated 41% of residents living below the poverty line.
The park owner has currently dedicated a double wide home, near the administrative office, to be used as a community space, often referred to as “town hall.” Half of the home has been remodeled and is used for community meetings. The second half has not been remodeled and is where the future computer lab and community space will be created.
The goal of creating a computer lab is to provide free Internet access to all residents of Shadow Wood and a space for additional programming. While there is no current programing in place other than a weekly Girl Scouts meeting, in the past there have been volunteers who have helped students with homework and played soccer on the fields near the park. By working with our partner CU-Citizen Access and developing a long-range plan for this space, residents will benefit from having Internet access, developing basic computer skills, and having a communal space for additional programming such as English language classes, community journalism, and tutoring.
The goal of this project is to design and create a computer lab and community space for the Shadow Wood Mobile Park residents. Our group will revamp the space through painting, furniture, and lighting. We will also provide computers with Windows and Spanish Linux dual boot, so that Spanish speaking residents will be able to use the computers. At least one printer will be available for use in the lab.
CU-Citizen Access is working to create a long-term plan for operating this space. Through this plan we will insure that the computer lab is open, functioning, and provides access to all. Initially, CU-Citizen Access hopes to have the space open one night a week, but ideally the operating hours will expand.
Our goals are to create a multi-functional space that can accommodate Shadow Wood’s need for a computer lab as well as a space for Girl Scout meetings and other community functions.