The Unofficial Computer Lab of Elizabeth City’s Hunter Street
I wish I could take credit for this, but I can’t. Ryan Somma started this years before I moved to Elizabeth City.
In the evenings he let the neighborhood children come over to use the computer. We live on a less affluent street. Having easy access to computers within walking distance has proven to be quite popular. Currently, we have eight core kids that we see regularly and at least a dozen more who stop by. Sometimes, of course, we choose to, but Ryan and I never have to spend an evening alone. All we need to do is open our door and suddenly the house will be bustling with activity and music and conversation.
Now, I will say a lot of the computer activities tend to involve MySpace and assessments of who has what Lil Wayne layout. But then– there’s homework. We’ve helped them print reports, we’ve help them Google different hamster species for homework or locate pictures of the Obama family or brains. My all time favorite homework moment happened just two Fridays ago. On that sunny afternoon, two fourth graders came over. With the doors open, the house full of spring air and the birds outside singing, they worked on their fraction homework.
Since we don’t have enough laptops to go around, the evening activities are not all computer related. While they are waiting for their turn, children have helped make dinner (one ten year old is particularly fond of opening cans). At Christmas time, they proved to be dedicated taste testers of the chocolate covered Oreos. They love feeding the dogs. They love walking the dogs. They love petting the dogs. And one girl even took a fancy to dressing the dogs. We talk. We joke. We sit outside. Two teenage girls from two doors down are currently stitching their own plastic canvas icosahedrons. And regardless of sex or age, the children seem uniformly intrigued by Ryan’s ability to solve the Rubix Cube.
I’ve gotten to collect a number of pictures with the neighborhood kids over the recent weeks, so I thought I would share some of my favorites.
Khaliya is Very Pleased. Henry Not So Much (It looks like his bath stance!)
Sometimes it is hectic and more often than not, it is noisy. But on a whole I would describe the experience as fulfilling.