Boys & Girls Club opens Intel computer clubhouse

The Boys & Girls Club of the San Luis Valley, El Pomar Foundation and Intel Corp. have opened the Intel Computer Clubhouse in Alamosa.

The Intel Computer Clubhouse is an after-school program that provides youth ages 10 to 18 access to high-tech equipment, professional software and adult mentors to help them develop the self-confidence and enthusiasm for learning skills needed to create new opportunities. Youth who visit the Computer Clubhouse learn by doing. They create digital artwork, produce their own music CDs, film, write and edit their own short movies and design Web sites. The Intel Computer Clubhouse Network is a project of Boston’s Museum of Science in collaboration with the MIT Media Laboratory.

“The Intel Computer Clubhouses offer a rich, extraordinary opportunity for the young people of Alamosa,” said Judy Cara, Community Relations Manager for Intel in Colorado. “A depth of knowledge of technology is a must in today’s fast-changing world. It is especially important that underserved youth be introduced to technology and everything it can do for them in shaping their future.”

The Boys & Girls Club joins other Intel Computer Clubhouses across the United States and in other countries such as Brazil, China, Costa Rica, India, Ireland, Israel, Mexico, Philippines, South Africa, and Taiwan.

“The Intel Computer Clubhouses are ‘invention workshops’ where youth can express themselves through their own interests to become designers, not just consumers, of computer-based creations,” said El Pomar Foundation Chairman and CEO William J. Hybl.

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“Clubhouse youth love using professional software such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. It allows them to be creative, explore their world, and gain valuable skills for tomorrow’s workplace,” said Julie Mordecai, Boys and Girls Clubs of the San Luis Valley.

Demand continues for government loans

The U.S. Small Business Administration has reported that since the start of the fiscal year, during the period of October 1 through October 22, the agency approved 6,215 loans for $1.036 billion in its flagship 7(a) loan guarantee program.

Net of carry-over loan applications received before October 1, the SBA approved 4,669 loans for $659 million. That compares to 4,205 loans approved for just under $644 million for the same period last fiscal year. Excluding carry-over applications, the average daily loan volume is approximately $50 million, higher than during the same period last fiscal year.

The increase in loan volume indicates that, as expected, the small increase in fees in October to the levels found between 1995 and 2001 has not significantly affected demand. In the process, the 7(a) program is now at zero subsidy, where it has become self supporting through fees paid by the borrowers and lenders, returning millions of dollars to the taxpayer while continuing to grow to record levels.

“We have started off the fiscal year with a solid demand for loans, running at a higher rate than last year,” said Hector V. Barreto, SBA administrator. “This clearly indicates that small businesses are being started and expanding, they have confidence in the economy and in the process are creating jobs.”

The increases follow very successful growth in the lending program. In fiscal year 2004, which concluded on September 30, the agency disbursed 74,825 loans for $12.5 billion in the 7(a) program, surpassing a record set the previous fiscal year.

“The 7(a) lending program is running very well and that is good for small businesses,” Barreto said.

Silver Key offers chance to share the holiday joy

Make the eyes of a lonely elderly person glow this holiday season by sharing your love with them. Start by taking an ornament form a Silver Key Senior Services Giving Tree at your place of business or at a Wal-Mart store.

Each ornament, made by the Girl Scouts Wagon Wheel Council, has a label attached with a gift suggestion for a woman or man. Simply place the item in a gift bag, along with the ornament, and return it to the tree by Dec. 10.

Your gift would mean a lot to an elderly person who may be homebound, living on a limited income, frail and/or unable to leave home. If you want to do even more, volunteer to help deliver the gifts and watch the smiles on the faces of the elderly.

Call Diane or Audrey at 632-1521 for more information.