Somewhere someone once said that technology makes the world smaller.
Yesterday, inside its West Philadelphia Corps Community Center, the Salvation Army of Greater Philadelphia opened a Target Media Center, a renovated 20- by 30-foot multi-purpose room crafted into a library and youth theater.
One of its most dynamic features is the incorporation of a teleconferencing system designed to connect students with virtual field trips — like faraway zoos, aquariums and, yes, as depicted above, space stations. Students in West Philadelphia, many perhaps with far fewer opportunities than others their age, will be able to teleconference with astronauts.
“The technology and the new performing arts space opens up the imagination and allows students to express themselves in different ways,” Ingrid Broadnax, director of foundation and government relations for the Salvation Army’s Philadelphia branch, says in a press release.
Theï¿½ sprucing up of 5501 Market Street came at the hand of a $25,000 grant, part of a national $1 million gift that Target donated to the Salvation Army in 2007 to revitalize the organizationï¿½s libraries, media centers and educational facilities across the country. Allentown had a similar unveiling.
ï¿½Weï¿½re delighted that Target identified the Salvation Army as the organization that can make this project a reality,ï¿½ Broadnax says.
The media center’s most innovative feature is likely that distance learning program built on the back of teleconferencing equipment and free software programs, but the technologies are also meant to be used in virtual visitation sessions, giving youth the opportunity to connect with family members they couldn’t before, because of incarceration, distance or other circumstances.
The local funds also went to purchasing books and a small stage for youth theater, among other programs.
In 1879, the first Salvation Army group in the United States began in Philadelphia. Follow the regional group on Twitter here.
Below watch a recent promotional video from the group.
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