GRANGER, Wash. — Residents of Granger are learning how to navigate the Internet, thanks to some volunteers called Web Wizards.
Participants learn how to locate information and interpret what they find as part of an effort to teach them how to use search engines, chat rooms and e-mail. Most have little experience with computers.
“Web Wizards is designed to help people, who for one reason or another, don’t have access to the Internet,” said Kyle Dees, Web Wizard program coordinator for Washington State University Cooperative Extension’s Partners in Promoting Strengths Program. “The objective is to get them comfortable using this advanced technology and eliminate any inhibitions they may have.”
The just-completed six-week training program at the Granger library is free to anyone who would like to learn more about cyberspace. In return, participants must donate 24 hours of their time to the library and be available to help anyone in the library that may have questions regarding the Internet.
The program is funded by the Washington State Partners in Promoting Strengths with a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service.
The purpose of PIPS is to enrich the lives of youth and families in communities. Mary Deen, a 4-H youth specialist at WSU Tri-Cities, and Louise Parker, a family economics specialist at the WSU Puyallup Research and Extension Center, are co-directors and oversee programs funded by this grant.
Adult and youth members of the communities design programs they feel will best meet their needs. These programs are then implemented with the anticipation that they will develop curricula that can be used by other communities across the state.
Training is available during the summer when community-based teams attend an informal retreat where different experimental educational methods are taught. Team members work in small group activities such as case studies and role-playing to reinforce the learning process.
“So far over 30 community teams have participated in the PIPS training program and have returned to their communities to create and enhance efforts on the behalf of all youth and families in their communities,” said Deen.
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