For the slightly older children, HEARTH has a staffed Learning Center where they can go once a week.
Inside the Learning Center there are computers for the kids where they can set-up email to communicate with friends. The center is equipped with a Playstation, XBOX and Wii. These items are there so the kids can learn how to use them because they might not have them in their own homes. This helps children that would not otherwise have these items, to understand and fit in with kids their age.
They also enjoy fun group activities like yoga, gardening and music, to help enrich their lives in ways they might not be able to partake in otherwise.
The Goals of the Learning Center are to:
- Teach homeless children useful computer applications and help them keep up with their classmates in school
- Provide tutors to help with schoolwork
- Make use of educational software designed to supplement and
complement their classroom learning experiences
- Create e-mail accounts that facilitate communication with their
family and peers
- Normalize their social experiences through the use of computer
games and internet use
- Encourage developmental progress in homeless youth
The Learning Center houses three computers with internet access, a scanner, a printer and a digital camera as well as space to study. Having ready access to the most current software and hardware enables the children to keep pace with their peers, both academically and socially, most of whom have computers in their homes. With the internet connection the children have the opportunity to create online photo albums, visit websites of interest, create their own websites, play online games and send email to friends.
The Learning Center is funded by a grant from the Homeless Children’s Education Fund an independent non-profit organization that was created in 1999 to serve as an advocate for homeless children. Volunteers from Island X-3, the regional chapter of the Navy Seabees Veterans of America (NSVA), designed and constructed a private space for the Learning Center to be housed within Benedictine Place’s multi-purpose room. The initial creation of the Learning Center was also funded by the Grable Foundation and Citizen’s Bank.
Volunteers are needed weekdays after school hours to help guide the children.
If you are interested, contact our Communications & Community Outreach Manager at
412-366-9801 ext. 13.