When Kelly Sullivan saw that her friend was in need, she created a plan and used technology to make it happen.
Sullivan, who is a client of The Arc Carroll County Inc., noticed that the man was frustrated, having trouble communicating his feelings and needs. She thought that a simple picture board would help him express himself better and lash out less.
She took pictures of the people and things he interacts with most, like his lunchbox and The Arc bus, and formatted them into a one-page sheet using Microsoft Word to print out for him.
“I like to help people,” she said.
Sullivan found resources for the project through The Arc’s new Technology Coaching Center.
The Arc Carroll County celebrated the center in a ribbon-cutting Thursday, Jan. 24. The center offers clients typing and coding classes and one-on-one coaching in technology skills.
In a bright room with several windows, desktop computers line the walls. Plastic chairs in The Arc’s bright orange logo color were set up Thursday morning for guests to watch a presentation on the projector.
They also offered a coding class for about 10 students, but ran into problems with a lack of laptops and outlets to charge. Through the grant and donations of computers by Kite Technology and the Carroll County Public Library headquarters, that’s not a problem anymore.
After the presentation, The Arc client Matt Hamilton demonstrated his typing skills using an online program that recorded his speed and let him choose how much time he wanted to spend doing typing exercises.
Said Executive Director Don Rowe: “I’m so proud of this room because when I would give tours, I would have to ask guests to use their imagination. … It’s exciting to see this spring to life with technology.”
He thanked the technology committee that consulted to help the project come together.
Carol Beatty, secretary of the Maryland Department of Disabilities, said The Arc Carroll County is a trendsetter, “trying new things and taking steps ahead of other nonprofits.”
She spoke about the statewide Hire Ability campaign to encourage local employers to recruit employees with disabilities. A video that features business owners and disabled employees can be a “win-win for employer and employee,” she said.
Commissioner Dennis Frazier, R-District 3, presented a proclamation that declared Thursday as Technology Coaching Center Day.
“The work nonprofits do in Carroll County is amazing,” he said.
In keeping with the focus on technology, Roop created an animation of scissors slicing through a virtual ribbon.
In the future, the center hopes to add more resources like a video center where they can create videos for education and advocacy, TV’s for presentations, tablets for coding and maybe eventually virtual reality technology for job training and other immersive experiments.
Director of Development O’Ryan Case announced that the center had just received grants that will make the video studio a reality very soon.
To get in contact about providing technology resources, contact Starr Jolbitado, assistant director of educational partnerships, at email@example.com.