Saturday, April 25, 2009

Facebooking at the Mindtriggerz Lab

After a full day at the Dunbar Memorial Garden I stopped in to see what was shaking at the Mindtriggerz Teaching Lab. There was Joyce, on a computer engaged in some kind of word puzzle and there was Jerome dashing around as he is well-known for doing.

An event by a local church was being held so most every young person in the lab was spill-over, much like the easter egg hunt weekend last time. While we would prefer the lab to be filled with applicants for the Mindtriggerz computers, we also knew that with the approach of warm weather the park would begin to be dominated by a variety of events and this simply affords us the chance to spread the word about what we are doing and why.

Joyce shared a hilarious story about how she was "manning" the lab while Jerome was out doing who knows what and a couple of teenagers ambled in and when she asked them what they were doing on the computers they said "We want to check our Facebook messages" and she responded with: "Oh no, these computers don't do that - there is no internet here" which of course sent them shuffling off.

Funny stuff - I'd previously told Jerome he should charge admission - lo and behold we found 16 cents that someone had left by a computer so I guess he did! The lab will most likely shut down a little earlier than the end of May as we'd planned and that's okay. As school begins to wind down for these youngsters, as the park begins to fill with other activities, I know Jerome and Joyce would prefer to be at the garden. It reminds me of a certain day in May when I said "Jesse, it's so beautiful outside you should get out in the sunshine and fresh air" then spied him a little later with his laptop - sitting on the deck, pounding away at the keyboard.

Monday, April 20, 2009

And the craziness goes to...

MT Blog- Saturday, April 18th, 2009

Saturday the eighteenth brought the weekend of the anniversary of Jesse's death, the sharing of Mindtriggerz love (another family delivered to!) and more mulch to the garden. James Richardson reporting on the day.

Jerome and I arrived at the lab at about 09:15 or so, to find Andy waiting, the building open. We went inside and immediately began setting up. As Jerome finished bringing out the computers, Joyce arrived, marking the second time she has arrived before 10:00 to the lab- a congratulations to her. The lab went up fairly quickly- we're getting better at throwing the place up- and we had our first customers sometime before ten, I believe. I retreated into the back room, using our extra monitor to dual screen my laptop and work on some stuff while Joyce and Jerome began their work at teaching. Sometime after ten, Papa Weck arrived, sent by Mrs. Weck. He and I had an interesting discussion about laptops and traveling the world. I got a phone call at around 10:30 or so from the amazing Sarah Weck, asking if Becky was going to be at the garden anytime soon. I quickly informed her that Becky was having a massage that morning and would be done around eleven. Sarah and Jamie then proceeded to drive from the garden to the lab, where Sarah, Joyce, Jerome, and Mr. Weck had some interesting conversations. Joyce taught another boy while Sarah played the car game and Jamie had to disappear off to work.

Around noon, Sarah and I headed out to the Garden, leaving the lab in the quite capable hands of Joyce and Jerome. Joyce reports that it was pretty darn quiet that day, and the two handled shutdown about one thirty. Things went down slowly, a station at a time. Everybody took it easy that day after the insanity of the week before with the church crowd and just the general insanity, not to mention it being the eighteenth.

After shutting down the lab, Jerome and Joyce delivered yet another Mindtriggerz computer to yet another happy family with the help of a very respectful young man. In Joyce's words: When they came in, the kids were watching TV, and as the computer went up, attention was shifted to said computer. The day went smoothly enough and brought us one step closer to summer and the end of school.


Signing off,


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Joyce's post for the Mindtriggerz Teaching lab - April 11, 2009 edition!

What an exciting day at Mindtriggerz! James and Jerome set up the lab bright and early as usual, and then James headed back to Bekki's to work his tech magic. I broke my on time streak and got there around 11, and the place was swarming with kids because a local church was having a neighborhood Easter celebration.. We continued training our returning families, and let some of the kids who wandered in play a few games. We gave out some flyers and Jerome did a little networking, so hopefully we will have more volunteers in the last couple weeks until garden work starts up again.

There were some children's books laying around from the church group, and two little girls asked me to read a few. I taught one of the girls to read the word "mine", and I sincerely apologize to her mother who no doubt heard "m-i-n-e, MINE!" all the way home. My bad.

Around two James and Bekki came to help us break down the lab. Jerome and Bekki delivered computers to 3 families, including the CUTEST kid in the world Adwin. I'm so glad his family received their computer, but soooo sad that I won't be seeing that happy little face every Saturday :( We can't wait to have him back for more training.

Around noon there was a softball field dedication for Hannah that Bekki, James, April, other friends, and many members of Hannah's family attended. I'm told it was a lovely ceremony, and that there is a plaque along side her jersey number displayed near the scoreboard. Thinking of you today, Hannah. Thinking of you always.

Jesse's mom adds her two cents worth:
Today Joyce said something to me about Jerome and how one minute he's just talking along jovially and the next he's shouting "NO NO NO" at some little one banging on the keyboard and it made me laugh. So thanks Joyce for making me lulz!
Jerome is an excellent teacher and Joyce is his excellent "balance" - we are eternally grateful for her much needed "patient" assistance at the lab and her hard work at the garden, and for tolerating the "boys."
(we love you, joyce <3)
While at the Liverpool lab today James sorted and tested speakers and a couple of machines using his new "AIDA" diagnostic tool. Then he single-handedly packed the three cpu's and monitors to Jerome's car for delivery to our latest Mindtriggerz computer recipients. Then he ate a lot of brownies! LOL, sorry James, but I am really glad you like my baking. So while we are giving thanks - a few pats on the back for Mr. Richardson too!
Jerome and I visited three VERY happy families and installed their Mindtriggerz computers without too much "ado" - pics will be posted on our "training lab" slide show so take a minute to go the website and watch.
(and yes, Adwin, pictured above is very, very cute!)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Erica's first time teaching at the Mindtriggerz Training Lab 4.4.09

Today was my first day on the job and all I knew was that I was going to be teaching a bunch of wee-ones how to point and click.
Becky came and picked me up from my house and took me to the Cardinal Valley indoor shelter. When I get there, all 10 computers were set up. James was fixing something on one of the computers. Jerome was also there already taking care of a father and his son. Becky went to the back room to put the food down and Jerome took me to one of the computers and showed me what I would be teaching the kids.
Most of the kids are between the ages of 4 and 8,
meaning they were learning simple things like typing and moving and clicking the mouse.
Around 10:30 I stopped learning and started teaching. For most of the kids it was their second or third time at the lab so a lot of them knew what to do already.
Around 1 everything basically cleared out. One other family came in. The little boy, Adwin, was very cute and extremely enthusiastic! It was his family's' 4th time coming, so they will now be getting their own Mindtriggerz computer at home.
Next week we will be delivering a total of 3 computers... I think.


Erica <3>
A tiny addendum by Jesse's mom
While Jerome, Erica and papa Weck were rocking the training lab, James and I did some work at Liverpool - rearranging, sorting, and running ghetto Ethernet cable to my back porch! James also plowed through about six donated machines in various states of disassemblage and got at least one working again and the others marked for either the cabbage patch or for needed supplies.
Jon appeared to running on fumes so he took it easy.
Next weekend will mark the 11th, 12th and 13th Mindtriggerz computers that have been installed in kids homes!