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In 1999, we founded C4K to help close the gap that exists between youth who can afford to have a home computer and those who can’t. While today C4K’s offerings span a much broader range of programming, our history remains an important part of this journey.
In 1998, a survey conducted among seventh grade students at Buford Middle School in Charlottesville and the five Albemarle County Middle Schools determined that 121 (or 17%) of the total did not have a computer at home. Of the 251 students in the city who responded, 122 (or 48%) of the total did not have a computer at home.
The percentage of students at each school who did not have a computer and those on the free and reduced-price lunch program was almost identical.
In October, under the auspices of the Boys & Girls Club of Charlottesville/Albemarle, C4K was awarded a grant to fund a year-round computer center.
In November, C4K hired their first staff member, Kala Somerville, who currently still serves as the Executive Director. C4K immediately set minimum standards for the donated computer and, initially, distributed 486 machines to area youth.
After receiving a grant from the Weed & Seed Network, C4K led four one-week computer classes in the summer. At the camp’s conclusion, students received a complete computer system for their home.
In October, the renovations for the Connected Community Technology Center (CCTC) (C4K’s first home) were completed, and C4K moved its refurbishing lab from the Sprint building on Hydraulic Road to the newly renovated refurbishing lab in the CCTC.
Finally, all of C4K’s operations (administrative office, refurbishing lab and learning lab) were under one roof.
Although renovated by October, the Learning Lab did not open until January 16, 2001. The first group of students was trained in January. The mentors were trained in February and began working with the students in March.
C4K quickly grew, and in March of 2006, relocated to its current location in the Frank IX building. This move was necessitated by the increasing number of daily students and the need to increase staff size in order to continue the development of the program.
C4K joins the The Clubhouse Network, launching “The Clubhouse@C4K.” The Clubhouse@C4K is one of over 100 clubhouses in 20 different countries. The Clubhouse Network is a project offered in collaboration between the Boston Museum of Science and the MIT Media Lab. C4K expands its focus to provide youth members with daily opportunities to engage in hands-on science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) learning opportunities.
C4K hosts its first Artist-in-Residency project: “@tribute: C4K’s Identity and Empowerment Project” during a week-long summer camp.
On September 9, 2016 C4K’s youth hosted a community open house celebrating both the official Grand Opening of The Clubhouse@C4K and C4K’s 15th Anniversary year. Youth members showcased their STEAM projects and guests viewed the newly renovated design studios, audio recording studio, and video recording studio.
We hosted our 3rd Annual Showcase event.