With great concentration and precise aim, Zakee Jordan pounded away at the arrow keys on the keypad of the Dell laptop in front of him before throwing his arms above his head.
“This game is hard,” Jordan said to his younger brother, Jovon, who was seated across from a computer to his right.
On a hot Friday afternoon, the two children were taking advantage of the air-conditioned ACHIEVEability community office computer lab, which provides residents of the organization’s West Philadelphia service area with access to information, computer skills training, entertainment and an escape from the heat.
Located at 59 N. 60th St., one block from the Market-Frankford Elevated Subway, the second-floor computer lab houses seven Dell desktop computers, four Dell laptop computers and a printer, all of which were donated by Drexel University, computer lab assistant Yahya Bey said.
In the digital age, a lab such as this is an invaluable resource, especially in low-income areas.
“A lot of the people in the community don’t have computers at home, and if they do, they don’t have Internet access, so they’re grateful to have something like this,” Bey said.
The most common usage of the lab is for job searching, Bey said.
As computer lab assistant, Bey helps many visitors create and edit their resumes.
On Mondays and Wednesdays, computer-training classes are given in the lab. During the classes, instructors who are provided by the Freedom Rings Partnership’s Keyspot program teach patrons of the lab basic computer skills and how to use Microsoft programs such as Word and Excel, Bey said.
While many people use it in an attempt to advance or find a career, the lab is also used for recreational purpose, such as checking email or social networking sites. In some cases, Bey said, the lab acts as a home away from home.
“For the children, it’s a place away from home. If their parents have to go to work, they’ll send them here,” Bey said.
The lab, which is open to the public six days a week, is available to anybody who wishes to use it.
In the future, members of the community office would like to implement a username and password policy, to better monitor who is visiting the lab and what the computers are being used for, Bey said.