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Blog // Connect Michigan

Printer Distribution Provides Learning Experience

By Wil Payton

Community organizations provide insight on how technology enhances quality of life

Connect Michigan's Dan Manning (right) with Charlie Burgenmeyer from Junior AchievementThe Connect Michigan team has had the distinct privilege of distributing 381 printers to communities and non-profit organizations in the state to date. More importantly, this program has facilitated a greater understanding of how communities are using technology to enhance the quality of life of their residents.

Below are a couple of examples, from printer program recipients, on how technology has impacted the level and effectiveness of services they provide:

Mark Nance, Cadillac Area Salvation Army, Cadillac, MI - Our telephones operate over broadband, which makes it possible for us to have a low-cost solution for our phone system. Each day we access several different web-based applications. Without high-speed access we would not be able to meet the many grant requirements for inputting client information.

We use broadband to enter client information as well as using it for our client intake. Our bookkeeping and statistical programs also run over our broadband connection. The Salvation Army uses a corporate e-mail system and a high-speed connection is vital for its smooth operation.

During our youth night/character building clubs youth use the Internet to access homework help. The youth group teachers also use broadband for showing educational videos as well as searching for various educational helps and images for our character building groups.

In the near future The Cadillac Salvation Army will be putting in a kiosk to assist clients signing up for DHS services and for checking their status within the system. We also manage our website, Facebook and Twitter feeds through our broadband.

Fran Kopka, Bay Area Women’s Center, Bay City, MI - At the Bay Area Women’s Center, the Internet is a vital component to our success. Our mission is to eliminate domestic violence, stop sexual assault, and prevent homelessness. To do this, we need to let our community know what services we offer, who we help and how we do it. We use our website and Facebook page to inform and educate the members of our community. Once the community understands what we do, it enables them to take advantage of our services; refer friends and neighbors to us; as well as to create a desire to financially support us.

Many services we provide for clients require online research and tools – for instance, clients often need to complete online forms for the Department of Health Services, research housing options, or access job postings. Many times, online is the only way to apply for a job or to sign up for community resources.

Without the Internet, our clients would have a much harder time finding housing, jobs, and ultimately independence. In addition, school children who reside at BAWC use the Internet to complete their homework. Their parents can keep in touch with the school through e-mail and website homework pages.

This story will be continued in our next post. Until then, be sure to follow Connect Michigan on Facebook and Twitter for more articles on how technology impacts your life!

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