Growing interest in CYMnet (CYM's Internet and Technology group) in the United States recently gave rise to a new project aimed at making
computer technology available to every one of CYM's branches
("oseredoks"). Dubbed the Computers for Youth project, efforts began early in 2001 to collect donated computer equipment, both new and previously owned, from corporate and private sponsors. The goal was to provide computer technology to local CYM branches and summer camps for the development of educational materials in electronic format; for CYM's web site development; for administrative use; and for enabling the establishment of electronic communication between sumivtsi in all parts of the world.
Scores of Pentium-class desktop and laptop computers have been donated to the effort by U.S. corporate and private donors. Most are late model machines with generous amounts of memory and relatively fast processors, since they were previously utilized by programmers and software designers. Recently, CYMnet organizers constructed a computer lab and spent four days at the organization's Ellenville grounds, examining and rejuvenating or reconstructing (where necessary) the donated computers, as well as loading purchased software and configuring them for use by sumivtsi.
The machines are destined for a multitude of final destinations. Many will be transferred to CYM branches throughout the United States. Branches were informed about the project in early January, and received instructions for requesting machines for local use. The machines, some of which have already been delivered, are free of charge to the local CYM organizations. Other computers will find a home in summer camps. For example, a technical program is being planned for a group of interested participants of this summer's Counselor Training Camp (Vyshkilnyj Tabir) in Ellenville. Other camps will benefit from the technology as well.
Many of the donated computers are earmarked for CYM use in Ukraine. Working closely with Ukraine's National Executive, CYMnet plans to deliver a number of machines to Ukraine for use by regional branches and the National Executive. CYM members abroad have expressed particular interest in this facet of the program, since it will open possibilities for broader communication between CYM in Ukraine and branches in other countries. Current plans call for machines destined for Ukraine to ship overseas in late spring.
The CYMnet movement first attracted broad interest among CYM membership with the establishment of an international Computers and Internet conference in Ellenville, N.Y. in April, 2000. There, sumivtsi had the opportunity to learn computer basics, create web sites and manipulate computer graphics, and received instruction on issues like communicating and sending email in Ukrainian over the Internet. The international conference was followed by popular national conferences in Ukraine and Australia earlier this year. Through the Computers for Youth project, CYMnet now plans to assist local CYM branches in obtaining the technology needed to allow sumivtsi to make use of the skills they've learned, to enrich youth programs through the use of computers technology.
The Ukrainian American Youth Association (CYM) is a tax-exempt, non-profit youth organization. Donations of computers, software, components and accessories are actively being sought. If you would like to make a financial contribution or donate new or used computer equipment, CYMnet can be reached at CYMnet@cym.org, through their web site at www.CYM.org, or by telephone at +1.212.477.3084.