Boys and Girls Club of LaSalle opens new technology centre

By Tracey Arial

LaSalle politicians and local personalities spent last Friday, Feb. 21 lunch hour at the Boys and Girls Club for the official opening of the 37th Rogers Raising the Grade Technology Centre.

The new technology centre includes everything needed to explore digital learning, including computers, high speed Internet, software and now, handheld tablets. It’s the latest move in a partnership between the Rogers Youth Fund and the Boys and Girls Club of Canada that began in October 2012.

Natasha Johnson, a Grade 9 St. Luc student spoke on behalf of herself and nine other LaSalle residents who have already started using the centre.

“The Rogers raising the grade program is an opportunity for me to get help with my school studies to develop better grades,” she said. “It is also a chance for me to put my future together, figure out which domains I would like to continue in college, also what job I would like to do. It really makes me question myself. It makes me question myself about my interests and my dislikes. I find that really important because no one would like to do a career they will end up regretting.”

To use the centre, Natasha and the other students had to agree to participate in after-school learning sessions at least twice every week. Sessions help students use the technology, excel in school, consider career choices and hopefully choose to go on to post-secondary education with the help of potential scholarships.

The multi-pronged approach provides just the kind of hope that at-risk students who live in LaSalle need, said Boys and Girls Club executive director Mark Branch.

After the presentations, three representatives from Rogers joined Lizianne Fortier to present an additional gift of hand-held tablets.

Watching on in the crowd were Montreal city Councillor Richard Deschamps, MNLA Robert Poeti’s assistant Luciana Evangelista, QCNA Community Newspapers Association executive director Richard Tardif, and Dawson Community Centre executive director Line St-Amour. 

St-Amour was there to celebrate the expansion of a program she says has already benefitted students who live in Verdun. Dawson’s Rogers Raising the Grade Technology Centre opened on Dec. 6, 2012. Since then, 26 students have used the program to improve their marks and graduate from high-school.

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