Every afternoon they come to this room in the Jackson Medical Mall for some one-on-one work to help boost their grades and their classroom skills.
Dr. Ollie Shirley is the Director of the Jackson Medical Mall After School Program. She says,
"One of the things we are finding is they are lacking in a lot of skills," said Jackson Medical Mall After School Program Executive Director Dr. Ollie Shirley. "So we have hired, well, we got a grant. So we have hired people who have training in language arts and we have math and other kinds of skills these teachers are working on specifically because that's where they seem to be the weakest."
Well, one weakness of the afterschool program itself was the number of computers for the students to work with. The program had about 10 desktops computers. But there are about 50 students enrolled.
So, do the math. That's too many students for too few keyboards. But last week, United Health Care of Mississippi doubled the number of computers the Jackson Medical Mall Afterschool Program has.
"Today we are celebrating the fact that United Health Care donated 10 laptops to us for our children to use," said Erin Shirley who is also with the afterschool program. "It's been tough with having to rotate them when they come in and doing their homework assignments and they're on the computer and we have to time them and say, ‘Okay, you have to get off. The next student is on.' So this is helping us out tremendously."
Jocelyn Carter, President of United Health Care, Mississippi says,
"Our theme is Building Community. And also making sure that our mission is realized of helping people live healthier lives," said United Health Care, Mississippi President Jocelyn Carter. "So we took these computers that were not in use and we said, ‘How can we refurbish and give back to the community and provide access and empowerment to our young people?' So we decided, we looked at various locations throughout the state and one of the locations we selected was the Medical Mall for their afterschool program."
The computers were in use as soon as they were turned on.
Dr. Shirley remarked,
"Right now, just take a look at them," said Dr. Shirley. "What they are doing now is working on 'Our Civics.' That's the program started by the retired justice of the Supreme Court."
The computer donation by United Health Care is already making a big difference to an afterschool program that itself, is also making a difference in the lives of Jackson school-agers.
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