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When we emerge through the door at the top of a long flight of stairs, it's hard to see anything. Slowly, as our eyes adjust, we become aware of three rows of computers on our right, six in a rank. The Venetian shades have been drawn to shield computer screens from the glare of several large picture windows which would otherwise look out onto downtown St. Louis. We are on the top floor of the Employment connection building at 2838 Market Street, occupied by the Veterans Court Technology Clinic.
The Veterans court Technology Clinic raffled off 20 laptop and desktop computers to deserving veterans over the two-day event held at the St. Louis Forest Park Community College, May 14 -15, 2016.
Over one-hundred veterans signed up for raffle tickets. They were informed that if they didn't happen to get lucky and win a computer at the Stand down, they could sign up for class at the VCTC and earn a computer at graduation. Many vets showed interest in what we could do to improve their opportunities for success.
This year's Stand down was a departure from earlier ones in that there were far more service organizations (fifty-three at least) on board to help vets in all ways possible. Of course there were usual features; legal services, band music, hot food service, haircuts, clothing and hygienic supplies.
I met Kennedy Davis when he came to the Jefferson Barracks Domiciliary where I was living because I was homeless. This was around October 2012. He was signing people up for computer training to help the guys learn how to type so they would be able to fill out thier job resumes. I already knew how to type. I need help with spreadsheets on Excel. He told us to meet him at Employment Connection and he would get us started. We went that following Monday. It took me 3 weeks to learn how to make slides on PowerPoint and also spreadsheets on excel. I enrolled in the Community College at Florissant Valley and I needed a computer because the Domiciliary only had one for everyone after hours. Kennedy provided me with a refurbished laptop so I was able to do my homework. I was able to get my AAS in Deaf Communications. I would tell any Veteran to get in this program to learn basic computer skills. These skills also help when you are typing on your Smartphone.
- Lisa Shelley
Thirty-three VCTC students and supporters were present for the first ever formal graduation ceremony held Friday, June 12, 2015, at the VCTC facility. Five of seven graduates expressed both gratitude and a sense of renewed purpose as they accepted their certificates and laptop computers from Executive Director Kennedy Davis.
St. Louis University has granted the Vet Court Technology Clinic (VCTC) an initial sum of $10,000.00 to refurbish computers and distribute them into the St. Louis community. The money has been buying used computers and the needed parts and software updates to bring them up to present day standards. Mr. Carey Cunningham of the St. Louis Public Schools Virtual Education Program is distributing them to his students for home study. He has distributed 30 computers to-date.
Kennedy Davis, Executive Director of VCTC, sees this opportunity as a way to further penetrate the St. Louis community with much needed opportunities to build computer skills and, thereby, vastly improve employment opportunities.More About VCTC