Interview with Steve Kast.
For Steve Kast, Connect-A-Kid is a labor of love that started in 1996 when the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Virginia Peninsula and Cox Communications joined in an initiative to provide Internet access for children who do not have computers at home. When the program began, it served one Club and 500 children a year. It has since grown to reach 11 Clubs and more than 5,000 young people nationwide. All now have access to the Internet to check e-mail, do research for school papers, participate in skill-building activities, and even play games. Through the Internet access supplied by Cox Communications at the Tech Centers, multiple learning activities are available for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Virginia Peninsula. Technology courses are offered in a variety of disciplines that teach students basic computer skills, as well as how to build Web sites, create professional-quality print materials and animation, use photo-editing software and digital music software, and film and edit their own movies. Built into these programs are pre-and post-course online tests that measure the knowledge gained by each student. The users are in control of how much they learn, and they know immediately whether they can move on to the next level or need more practice. Kast gives credit to the partnership with Cox Communications for the program's growth beyond the immediate area. "Cox has helped us triple the number of youth that we serve," he said. "Because of our local relationship, kids all over the country are benefiting from our partnership formed right here. Our local partnership has become a national model for Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Cox."