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Tech program targets volunteers

Wednesday, August 23, 2000

By Nancy Welsh

Community volunteers at sites across the region have a chance to participate in a program examining the impact of technology on American communities. The program is free and available to the first 25 people to register at each site. No technical knowledge or computer experience is required.

Using a grant from the Howard Heinz Endowment, the Pennsylvania Humanities Council is sponsoring the "Technology and Community" discussion program. The four local sites are Butler Area School District, Schenley High School, Valley High School and the Lutheran Service Society, Bellevue.

The program includes Internet training and access, and participation in an online discussion.

Participants will receive copies of the book "Composing Cyberspace: Identity, Community and Knowledge in the Electronic Age."

Mary Bear Shannon, project director of the technology and community program at the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, said special emphasis was placed on schools in selecting the sites. She said people will be encouraged to talk about the issues surrounding technology, such as the Internet, and how it is affecting education and the way family members communicate.

"We feel the schools should reach out to the community and serve more than just kids," Shannon said. "They should be community learning centers."

She said the Lutheran Service Society was included to get senior citizens involved. She said there is a real need among them to talk about these issues.

She said people may contact her at the Pennsylvania Humanities Council -- (800) 462-0442 -- for general information about the technology and community program. Inquiries about individual programs should be directed to the site contact.

Here are the program sites and contacts:

Allegheny County -- Lutheran Service Society, Bellevue; Contact: Terri Brown, 412-734-9330; Tuesdays, Sept. 12-Oct. 17, 1 to 4 p.m. Schenley High School, Oakland; Contact: Jackie Perhach, 412-881-5783; Wednesdays, Sept. 20-Oct. 25, 6 to 8:30 p.m.

Bedford County -- Bedford Area School District; Contact: Glenn Burket, 814-623-4250; Thursdays, Sept. 14-Oct. 19, 6 to 8:30 p.m.

Blair County -- Altoona Area School District; Contact: Diane Conerby, 814-946-8524; Wednesdays, Sept. 6-Oct. 11, 6:30 to 9 p.m.

Butler County -- Butler Area School District; Contact: Jerry Slamecka, 724-214-3103; Mondays, Sept. 11-Oct. 16, 6 to 8:30 p.m.

Cambria County -- Civic Action Network, Johnstown; Contact: Jeanne Susko (Murtha Center), 814-269-2099; Mondays, Sept. 11-Oct. 16, 6 to 8:30 p.m.

Greene County -- West Greene Middle School, Waynesburg; Contact: Thelma Szarell, 724-499-5051; Wednesdays, Sept. 20-Oct. 25, 6 to 8:30 p.m.

Indiana County -- Penns Manor Area School District, Clymer; Contact: Veronica Graham, 724-254-4332, Ext. 30; Tuesdays, Sept. 19-Oct. 31, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Somerset County -- Rockwood Area School District; Contact: Gary Weimer, 814-926-4631; Thursdays, Sept. 21-Oct. 26, 6:30 to 9 p.m.

Westmoreland County -- Valley High School, New Kensington; Contact: Jim Jones, 724-337-4586; Thursdays, Sept. 14-Oct. 19, 6 to 8:30 p.m.

Nancy Welsh is a free-lance writer.

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