Expanding Computer Access for Homeless Families
Margaret’s House, in Dorchester, Mass., provides trauma-informed services and shelter to homeless families. Each family receives a case manager who works directly with them over the course of their stay to find permanent housing and to determine any other programs they qualify for. Classes are offered in cooking, parenting, and budgeting. Margaret’s House is also very lucky to have its own library, art room, and play space for the children. Despite all the programs and services provided at Margaret’s House the shelter still has many needs—especially in technology.
When I first began volunteering at Margaret’s House, there was only one out-dated desktop computer for the 36 mothers and more than 50 children staying at the shelter—simply not enough as families often vied for the computer, limiting their ability to read emails, complete online homework, research job opportunities, and perform many other tasks.
With the generous help of the Legacy Grant Committee, four computers were purchased for Margaret’s House. A projector was also purchased so BC PULSE students can offer weekly computer classes in Microsoft PowerPoint, Excel, and Word; instruction in using use Google Docs; help building other practical computer skills that many of the families living at Margaret’s House have never had the chance to obtain.
I worked directly with a Boston College alumna, Deirdre Houtmeyers ’83, MS’00. Ms. Houtmeyers is the president and CEO of St. Mary’s Center for Women and Children, which operates Margaret’s House. Working with a BC alumna was one of the highlights of my Legacy Grant experience as it showed the truly broad impact that BC students have on the greater Boston community.
—Tara Hebert ’18