In our current Internet age we often go by the belief that we are all universally plugged into the Web. But for those living in less fortunate neighborhoods this belief does not always hold true. Thanks to the Free Library of Philadelphia, places like the Mercy Neighborhood Ministries are now providing free Internet hotspots to the community.
Located at 1939 W. Venango St. Mercy Neighborhood Ministries began its program in May 2011. The program helps local residents not only in providing internet access, but also a number of classes that teach the basics of computer use. These include classes on job building, writing resumes and typing. The lab provides seven desktops and a small area in which laptop users can take advantage of the internet.
Tracy Curtis, a volunteer who teaches typing for the program, has seen local residents of all ages ranging from the young to the elderly attending these classes.
“I’ve seen kids from the ages of 6 to 65 come in here to learn how to type,” Curtis said.
One of her most memorable individuals she worked with was an 83-year-old, woman who managed to learn advanced typing in only two months.
“She didn’t know how to type when she first came in,” Curtis said. “After a couple of months the program was telling her she was ready to do advanced typing.”
Having even these basic teaching programs gives the local residents an opportunity at using a tool that isn’t readily available to them. And the volunteers at Mercy Neighborhood Ministries make sure they all get that.
“I love teaching people,” Curtis said. “And I love meeting the people that come in here.”