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Donated laptops benefit Amsterdam teens

Tuesday, April 22, 2014
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Samantha Waldvogel, 17, right, and Jonathan Adorno, 16, both of Amsterdam, log on to new Apple laptops following an event announcing the donation of computer lab equipment at Centro Civico in Amsterdam on Monday.
Photographer: Patrick Dodson
Samantha Waldvogel, 17, right, and Jonathan Adorno, 16, both of Amsterdam, log on to new Apple laptops following an event announcing the donation of computer lab equipment at Centro Civico in Amsterdam on Monday.

— Centro Civico in Amsterdam showed off its new donated laptop computers Monday as the first set of teens got to take the machines for a spin.

The computers, 12 MacBook Pros, come as part of a $22,000 donation of equipment from GTECH, a company that provides services to the New York State Lottery.

Among the first kids to test out the computers was 16-year-old Jonathan Adorno, a junior at Amsterdam High School.

Adorno helps out with a mentoring program at the school and he’s been going to Centro Civico since he was young. He said he sees the computers as useful in helping kids in a variety of ways, including Regents test preparation.

“It just makes it better for the kids because they prefer being on the computer,” Adorno said.

The laptops were unveiled in an afternoon ceremony at Centro Civico’s offices on Main Street. Multiple dignitaries attended, including representatives of GTECH and the state lottery, as well as state Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk, D-Duanesburg.

“Hopefully you guys will get a lot from the

program and the opportunity to use the computers to do homework, work on resumes and just surf the Internet, if that’s what you guys choose to do,” Rodney Wilson, GTECH state account development manager, told those gathered.

Tkaczyk noted the donation marked an investment in the city and the kids of Amsterdam by ensuring they have access to state-of-the-art computer equipment.

“Yes you can surf the Internet, but do it wisely — and do your homework first,” Tkaczyk told the teens gathered.

Centro Civico of Amsterdam was formed in 1986 focusing on the Hispanic community in the city.

It merged in 2012 with the Albany-based Centro Civico Hispanoamericano.

The nonprofit agency provides educational programs, employment services, on-the-job training for non-college-bound students, low-income housing services and more.

Roberto Ochoa, president of Centro Civico’s board of trustees, said the computers allow the nonprofit to do more in the community.

He sees the laptops being used for homework by children who don’t have computers at home and for computer literacy classes.

He also envisions partnerships with the high school.

“It’s very important for our youth to be technologically literate,” Ochoa said. “So, the more access they have to technology, the more they become familiar with it, the better advantage they’ll have in the workplace.”

GTECH is based in Rhode Island. Its New York operations are based in Schenectady.

The donation included the 12 laptops along with other equipment.

The Centro Civico donation is part of a GTECH program called After School Advantage, which has made more than 200 similar donations around the country since 1999.

 
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