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Astoria and Woodside Houses
Get New Computer Labs

Community leaders gathered together at Astoria Houses Community Center to celebrate the opening of a new computer lab. For the first time, students at Astoria Houses have a dedicated community space to surf the internet and do their homework.

New Computer Lab
Children and adults can now access the internet at Astoria and Woodside Houses.
Photo credit: Pete Mikoleski

The lab includes five new Dell computers with flat panel monitors and a printer. Months of work went into transforming what had been a storage closet into a multi-media computer center. In addition to wiring the room for high-speed internet access, "we had to clean out the storage room, strip and wax the floors, and paint the room," says Anthony Richburg, NYCHA Community Operations Queens Borough Director. Richburg.

Fortunately, the center’s staff had some help with the interior decorating. Students who participate in the East River Development Alliance (ERDA) college prep program painted colorful murals of their favorite book titles and websites in the lab and in the hallway leading up to the lab. They even painted the lab rules on the walls.

Ribbon-cutting ceremony
Community leaders, NYCHA staff and residents celebrate the official opening of the Astoria Community Center computer lab.
Photo credit: Pete Mikoleski

The lab was renovated with proceeds from a $28,000 City Council grant that was secured by councilmember Peter Vallone, Jr. and given to ERDA last year to continue its work of providing New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) residents with the tools and resources they need to achieve economic mobility and self-sufficiency.

A partnership with non-profit group, Homework Helpers, which sets up fully equipped computer labs in community centers throughout New York City, will ensure that the lab provides a quiet place for students to do their homework and improve their computer skills. NYCHA, Homework Helpers and ERDA also partnered to provide new computers and a renovated lab for the Woodside Houses Community Center.

For Astoria and Woodside Houses, the new computers are a welcome addition to older models, which lacked internet access. Richburg says having access to computers with internet access, "gives our youth and teenagers an opportunity to do their homework here if they don’t have computers in their home, and it gives them an opportunity to learn how to use the computer."

By Tischelle George
April 17, 2007