Rainier Beach CTC sees big increase in volunteers
RBCTC has seen a 30 percent increase in the number of volunteer applications since the lab began giving away upgraded computers as a reward. The giveaway computers are P-90s or better, which are donated to the lab, then upgraded and refurbished there. RBCTC then awards one each month to a volunteer who completes at least seven hours helping out in the lab. The program is funded in part by a grant from the Seattle Public Utilities.
Lisa Nai Saephan, a middle school lab volunteer who had completed 60 hours of of lab volunteering, was the first winner.
Attracting volunteers for the computer lab can be challenging. Many residents believe they must have extensive computer knowledge or background to be of use. But all they really need is commitment. RBCTC encourages residents ages 13 and older to volunteer at least one hour each week. Volunteers assist in groups and one-on-one. Some activities include data entry, marketing, publicity, tutoring, special events and Kids Place.
Volunteers learn as much as they teach. Users in the computer lab have diverse backgrounds, languages, cultures and abilities.