Chicago‘s Back of the Yards neighborhood, a part of the New City community area, is a working class neighborhood. Most of the neighborhood’s residents do not have a high school degree, and 34.5 percent of residents live below the poverty level, compared to the Chicago average of 19.6 percent. According to the most recent census data, the unemployment rate in the neighborhood was 14.9 percent.
The Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council (BYNC) is one community organization that assists residents by offering free computer literacy classes. BYNC currently provides one course for senior citizens and another for adults and children.
“Knowledge of computers is a necessity in the modern world and job market,” said Norma Manzo, a computer instructor for the BYNC program.
The BYNC classes teach basic computer functions like using the cursor, opening and editing files and Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint.
“It’s about learning basic computer skills, getting to know one another, and learning about how they can benefit socially from the computer—from learning to use Facebook to learn[ing] about other services available to them,” Manzo said.
Other programs available in neighboring areas include GED classes, reading, English as second language and math assistance. These programs are available at: The National Latino Education Institute, 2011 W. Pershing Road; Tolton Center of De La Salle Institute, 3647 S. State St.; Alpha Temple M.B. Church, 6701 S. Emerald Ave.; and Aquinas Literacy Center, 3525 S. Hermitage Ave.
With reporting assistance from Riley McCord and Sierra Candia.