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Saint Agatha’s Programs Start From Ground Up for Those Without Ground

Saint Agatha

For almost two years David Wolfe has worked with six other members of the Saint Agatha Catholic Church program board. They are each in charge of individual programs and have different responsibilities as part of Saint Agatha’s.

Wolfe serves as the administrator of the technology program. His focus is on consulting others about funding for students who need internet access and high-speed computers.

His ongoing responsibility is to search for and develop proposals for sponsors and companies that would be able to fund the summer and year-long programs.

Established relationships with companies such as AT&T, Microsoft, Google, and Service Club of Chicago enable Wolfe to continue to bring in funding. These are necessary in order to keep the program running and to introduce more classes.

What could be described as a tiring process is, instead, something he has done all his life.

Behind St. Agatha’s Technology Center Name

Before the program came to fruition, Wolfe was one of the few that joined together to bring the idea into reality. The idea was first conceived when the Saint Agatha Catholic Academy was closed, leaving behind an empty building.

Seeing an opportunity to outreach into the community of families impacted by violence, Saint Agatha’s Catholic Parish decided to re-purpose it into a technology center. In no time at all, the Winslow Redmond Technology Center was opened.

The chosen name for the technology center was to commemorate the memory of Winslow Redmond Sr. who lost his life at age 40. The center was named after Redmond because the man grew up in North Lawndale and attended Saint Agatha’s school as a youth.

Having graduated from high school and Devry Institute with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems, Redmond started his professional career in computers. Many friends and family mourned the loss of a man that devoted himself to God and the happiness of his family.

Saint Agatha’s memorialized his name because they want others to see their life ahead of them and live it in its entirety.

The need for such a program came down to how the community is set up, causing a subconscious view of North Lawndale as “just” a bad neighborhood.

Launching Successful Education Programs

The people who came together to work on the idea of transforming the unused building into a Tech Center and The News School (TNS) for teens did so because of the limited resources in the North Lawndale schools. It was apparent that even though schools in the area had access to computers and the internet they did not offer extensive teaching on the science and operation of computers.

As a result, through the years of dedication, Saint Agatha has brought in programs such as TNS to teach teens journalism, Photoshop, and media marketing to prepare them for employment while they are being paid for their training through community programs.

Similarly, the Tech Center introduced “Tech Girlz” to provide a free technology curriculum to middle-aged women and teens. They are offered a hands-on approach with how to work with common computer applications, using apps such as Word or Powerpoint in order to apply for jobs or find new ways to apply for financial stability.

“The goal is to help advance students from intermediate to efficient in things like Photoshop, Word, or creating resumes. And that doesn’t just apply for the adults either, we did this so that students and seniors of the community could come to us so they could create resumes or check their emails when school was out or if their homes had no internet.”

Helping create these opportunities was a way to “introduce an alternative” to the violence in the homes and streets of North Lawndale.

Wolfe, 65, has worked with children his whole life using his master’s degree in social work. He plans to retire from his post in four years. Wolfe hopes not only to leave the tech program in good shape but also to leave it in a better standing than when it first started.

Written by Brielle R. Buford
Edited by Cathy Milne

Sources:

Interview: David Wolfe; 8/1/2018
The Chicago Citizen: ST. AGATHA’S CHURCH OPERATES COMMUNITY TECH CENTER OUT OF CLOSED SCHOOL BUILDING

Images Courtesy of Juan Ayala – Used With Permission

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