Summer campers at Parkridge Community Center to receive new laptops through $60,000 grant

August 13, 2021 Fran LeFort

Parkridge Summer Learning Experience celebration
WCC President Dr. Rose B. Bellanca addresses children, parents and community members during the Parkridge Community Center's Summer Learning Experience celebration.


Washtenaw Community College has received a $60,000 technology grant to provide new laptops and family digital literacy training for youth attending its summer camp in Ypsilanti.

The grant was announced today by WCC President Dr. Rose B. Bellanca and state lawmakers at a ceremony celebrating the last day of the Summer Learning Experience camp at the college’s Parkridge Community Center.

Jeff Irwin and Ronnie PetersonThe Washtenaw County Youth Development grant was secured by state Sen. Jeff Irwin and state Rep. Ronnie Peterson, both of whom were on hand at the event (right) recognizing 27 summer camp attendees ages 6-12.

The college-operated Parkridge Community Center in the city of Ypsilanti, where the summer camp is hosted, will serve as a technology support resource for student and community learning.

The grant ushers in a new focus on teaching, connecting underserved youth and parents with technology, and bridging the gap in essential digital literacy skills. WCC has also received funding from other resources totaling $130,000 , which allows for focused and intentional training and programs to support academic and career readiness.

“We are committed to supporting our community families by creating pathways for learning and success and are proud to announce this new grant thanks to the advocacy work of Sen. Irwin and Rep. Peterson,” Bellanca said. “Our programming efforts have shown a big need for basic digital literacy skills both for children in school and for adults in the workplace.”

Each student camper will be eligible to receive laptops when they and their family members attend basic computer skills training at Parkridge Community Center.

The orientation will provide an overview on fall programming as well as obtain information from community members regarding their digital literacy needs. The collected information will assist in determining the content of the training modules.

The new focus at both of WCC’s Ypsilanti community locations, Parkridge and the Harriett Street Community Center, will include programming sharply focused on college and career readiness.

“For over two decades we have provided programming at these two locations. Our new focus is being initiated after hearing from community members and local leaders that more was needed to help individuals and families on their pathway to education and careers,” said Brandon Roderick Tucker, Associate Vice President for Workforce & Community Development.

After last year’s summer camp was held virtually because of pandemic restrictions, this year’s camp returned in person with a retooled emphasis on academics led by three certified teachers in reading, writing and mathematics.

A drone mini camp was among the STEM activities woven into the curriculum, along with Youth Art Alliance programming.

Tags: Grants, Parkridge Community Center, Parkridge Youth Program