With the dog days of summer just around the corner, students, parents, and teachers across the nation will be faced with the challenge of seeking out recreational, educational, employment, and social-service activities. To make things easier for Capital Region residents, a team of professors from Rensselaer and the University at Albany have created Connected Kids, a new youth services online information system, in collaboration with Rensselaer County government.
The system will make its debut on Wednesday, May 7, during a press conference that will be held at the Troy Public Library, beginning at 2:30 p.m. Kathleen Jimino, county executive for Rensselaer County, will attend, along with leaders representing youth service organizations who have collaborated with the project, students, parents, and educators.
“At Rensselaer we say ‘Why Not Change the World?’ ” says Jim Zappen, professor of communication and rhetoric, who heads the project along with Rensselaer faculty member Sibel Adali, associate professor of computer science. “Connected Kids tries to change the world one family, one child at a time, beginning in our own community, by partnering with local youth-services organizations to offer an online resource of positive
cultural, educational, recreational activities, and services for Troy, Lansingburgh, and Rensselaer
“Rensselaer County and Troy offer a multitude of activities and services for children and families, and the World Wide Web makes it possible to pool all this information and make it available in one central Web site,” says Teri Harrison, professor of communication at the University at Albany, who is also a partner in the project. “Right now children and parents can come to one Web site and find out about services and programs offered by over 60 organizations. Over time, we hope these numbers will increase and Connected Kids will become even more valuable.”
The project focuses on a diverse audience, mainly students of 10 to 18 years old, their parents, employees of not-for-profit and government agencies, teachers, guidance counselors, and social workers.
The online system requires participating organizations to register and provide information regarding their programs or services.
Connected Kids is also part of a larger effort that aims to develop an area electronic community by providing individuals with different skill levels and needs with an opportunity to use computer technology. In addition, partner organizations will provide access to the system for parents and children at the Troy Public Library and for residents at the Troy Housing Authority’s Fallon Rainbow Center and in the community rooms of the Corliss Park, Griswold Heights, and Martin Luther King apartments.
Additional support for the project has been received from the National Science Foundation’s Digital Government Program, 3Com Urban Challenge Grant, the City of Troy, the Rubin Community Fellows Program, SUNY, Rensselaer, the Troy and Lansingburgh school districts, and several youth services organizations.
For more information, go to www.connectedkids.info/.
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