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Technology centre aims to raise grades

Grand opening ceremony combined with Pink Shirt Day

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Rogers Raising the Grade program co-ordinator Erica Lalonde sits at one of the computers in a tech centre donated by the Rogers Youth Fund.

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Rogers Raising the Grade program co-ordinator Erica Lalonde sits at one of the computers in a tech centre donated by the Rogers Youth Fund. Photo Store

A new addition to a central Winnipeg youth centre will hopefully have students both raising the roof and raising their grades.

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Winnipeg (300-61 Juno St.) officially opened its Rogers Raising the Grade tech centre on Feb. 25.

Rogers Raising the Grade is a program of the Rogers Youth Fund. Last year, the Rogers fund partnered up with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada to install tech centres in 25 different clubs across the country.

"It’s an after-school program that’s education-based, geared towards adolescents that are at risk for dropping out of school and may need extra support with academics, digital literacy, building their skills, stuff like that," Winnipeg program co-ordinator Erica Lalonde said.

The tech centre unofficially opened at the in October, but Lalonde wanted to show off the room to the public — and she did, by connecting it with Pink Shirt Day (Feb. 26), an annual anti-bullying awareness campaign.

"We wanted to have a reason to have a ceremony," Lalonde said.

Thus the kids in the Boys and Girls Club have made a website, movie, and a book, and wore pink shirts at the opening.

The tech centre is a small room in the building filled with computers. Kids come after school to do homework and engage in other activities.

"Some kids come here and they want to do homework, and that’s totally fine. Some kids come in and they want to learn new programs," Lalonde said.

Lalonde said one student in the program is interested in storms, so she suggested he start a blog.

"Maybe he’ll start a blog about being a stormchaser, so he can research tornadoes and write about his experiences. He’ll be doing what he’s interested in and learning at the same time."

Lalonde said young people are always welcome to visit the Juno Street club and check out their programs.

"They can sign up – it’s totally free. They don’t have to commit or come every day," Lalonde said.

For more information about Rogers Raising the Grade, visit raisingthegrade.ca

For more information about the Boys and Girls Club, visit wbgc.mb.ca

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