By Joanna Le
YWCA Canberra believes everyone has the right to contribute to and share equally in the benefits of our community’s social, cultural, and economic development – an ethos shared with the global Computer Clubhouse Network.
Founded in Boston in 1993, the Computer Clubhouse Network now extends across the world, providing 25000 young people every year with access to leading technological resources, skills and experiences to help them succeed in their careers, contribute to their communities, and lead outstanding lives.
The YWCA Computer Clubhouse (the Clubhouse) is located in Richardson, a Canberra suburb that has the highest number of people in the ACT (24%) who fall into the most disadvantaged 20% of all 15-64 year old Australians.
The Clubhouse officially opened its doors on Friday 10 October last year. Along with a host of corporate, philanthropic, government and community partners, YWCA Canberra celebrated the landmark event with its young Clubhouse Members, and their families.
Gail Breslow, Director of the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network, travelled from Boston to attend and speak at the festivities, and was impressed by what she saw.
In her speech, she emphasised the ‘soft’ skills that Clubhouse members learn as part of the program’s ethos, including collaboration, how to action an idea, and taking a project from conceptualisation through to completion.
YWCA Canberra’s Executive Director, Frances Crimmins said the Clubhouse provides a unique opportunity to bridge the digital divide and provide an opportunity for all young people to have access to technology.
“The ultimate goal of the Clubhouse is to connect young people in Tuggeranong to professional development opportunities with ICT organisations in Canberra, and future employment through the program’s mentors and industry partners.”
“This innovative program allows us to re-engage young people in education and in their community. It’s also an accessible space for vulnerable young people, young women and girls, and young people from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds,” Ms Crimmins said.
Open to all young people in the Tuggeranong region between the ages of 10 and 18, Clubhouse Members have access to a wealth of technological resources such as 3D modelling and printing, graphic design, digital photography and imaging, game design, coding, and robotics.
Key to the success of the Clubhouse is having access to high speed internet connectivity, which enables our Members to form relationships with other young people in Clubhouses all over the world via the “Global Village”.
Regular Skype calls between Clubhouses in Australia and New Zealand are already taking place over the AARNet network, with the main agenda item being the development of the 2015 APAC Regional Conference.
It’s been a few years since the last APAC Regional Conference, and the global Intel Computer Clubhouse Network (ICCN) is very excited to see new energy breathed into this important event.
After our last regional Skype meeting, Brenda Abanavas, the APAC Regional Coordinator said, “I am over the top thrilled that all of you are so committed to building a strong cluster of creativity and support…Thanks again for a wonderful meeting”.
The 2015 APAC Regional Conference will likely take place in Wellington, NZ, at the end of September, so stay tuned!
Joanna Le is Director of Corporate Relations and Communications at YWCA Canberra
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