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Camp Verde reading program expands its computer classes
Written by Mark Lineberger   
Wednesday, 26 May 2010 01:00

Nestled behind the old high school gym at Hollamon and Main streets, in a very inconspicuous location, is a community resource one might not even know was there unless they were looking for it.

Michele Bradley/Larson Newspapers Reanna Byrd, a volunteer at the Camp Verde Adult Reading Program, demonstrates on Thursday,  May 20, some of the skills students in the program’s computer classes will learn including use of Microsoft’s Office software products, Internet surfing and e-mail functions. The free eight-week course begins Wednesday, June 2.It’s the Camp Verde Adult Reading Program, and it’s been serving the educational needs for those who are a little too old to get their own locker at school. Don’t let the name fool you, the center offers much more than just classes in reading proficiency.

While it does help people looking to earn their general equivalency diplomas and people from around the world looking to learn English as a second language, mathematics and workplace skills, it also teaches skills that have become an almost necessary requirement for life in the 21st century.

These are skills you can only learn first-hand sitting behind a keyboard, and not the kind that made Ray Charles famous.

The center has been offering classes in basic computer skills for some time now, Director Anne Hoy said, classes that teach people the basics of things like Internet use, e-mail and word processing.

The classes have been quite popular, Hoy said, although space is limited to the nine computers available in the center’s computer room.

Next month, the center is going to build on these prior classes to teach students more advanced skills, like using programs like Microsoft PowerPoint and Excel, staples of the modern office workplace.

“These are skills that can help people when they apply for a job or want to get a promotion,” Hoy said.

Of course, the center will still run its basic computer class, Hoy said, because there are a lot of people who have never touched a computer or are just very uncomfortable about using one.

They come from all walks of life, and they might not even be in the job market. Hoy tells the story of one student, 88-years-old, who was having trouble with her hearing and by extension, talking with friends and family on the phone.

A relative suggested she turn to e-mail to communicate, and after a few short weeks in the basic computer class, she was e-mailing like a pro.

Learning how to operate computers can also keep the mind active, Hoy said, and has the potential to open people up to new ways of thinking about learning and problem solving.

“This class started as an experiment,” Hoy said. “But it’s worked out well.”

The advanced class starts Wednesday, June 2, and runs two nights a week for eight weeks, but Hoy said the class is already almost full.

There will be other classes in the future, however, so interested potential students should check for availability. As with everything offered by the nonprofit reading program, the services and classes are free to the public. For more information, call the center at 567-3187.


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