Wingspan has a brand new CyberCenter, complete with computers and Internet access and currently available for community use. We initiated the David Bohnett CyberCenter on December 18, 2001 with a Grand Opening ceremony. The CyberCenter was made possible by a $25,000 grant from the David Bohnett Foundation, an organization dedicated to improving society through social activism. This generous grant has enabled Wingspan to join the ranks of LGBT community centers in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego in providing free computer access to local queer communities.

Wingspan now houses the first CyberCenter in the state of Arizona specifically dedicated to providing free access to computers and Internet resources for LGBT people in a safe and confidential environment. Although LGBT youth and adults have access to computers and the internet in most schools and public libraries, they often do not use them because they risk “outing” themselves due to a lack of confidentiality. The screening of relevant information by filtering software further exacerbates this problem. Even if youth have a computer they can use at home, they are often unable to access LGBT resources without “outing” themselves to their family. Wide scale access to the internet has dramatically changed society, from the way we communicate to the way we educate our children. Over the past 14 years, Wingspan’s growth has been inexorably linked to meeting the needs of the growing and changing LGBT population in Southern Arizona. The time has come for Wingspan to further fulfill its mission and vision by bridging the “digital divide” for LGBT people who are otherwise unable to access this amazing resource.

The CyberCenter contains six new Dell computers equipped with Microsoft Word, Excel, Publisher, and Photoshop limited edition. We do not currently have any software training available, but volunteers will often be around to answer very basic questions. Those using the center will have access to the Internet, a scanner, and a limited amount of free printing.

As we continue to adjust to the CyberCenter’s presence, it will be open for limited hours in the afternoon. We are hoping to eventually expand these hours with the help of additional volunteers. At present, the CyberCenter is open for general use from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on weekdays and from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. on Saturdays. Additional hours, during which the CyberCenter is available for use by youth, only (23 and under), are 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays and 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday.

The opening of the CyberCenter paves the way for the development of an after-school tutoring and mentoring program serving LGBT youth. This program will aim to meet the academic and vocational needs of queer youth by offering assistance with secondary school and college coursework, standardized tests such as the GED and the SAT, the college application process (including researching schools, completing applications, and finding financial aid and scholarships), and job skills like interviewing and resume writing.

Wingspan needs volunteers to help us keep the CyberCenter running and to get our tutoring/mentoring program off the ground. If you’re interested in staffing the CyberCenter or if you have knowledge in any of the tutoring and mentoring areas, please contact Mark English at 624-1779. Many thanks to all those folks who have already put in hours helping us get the center up and running!

If you're interested in staffing the CyberCenter or if you have knowledge in any of the tutoring and mentoring areas, please contact Mark English at 624-1779. Many thanks to all those folks who have already put in hours helping us get the center up and running!

Hours of operation

Youth hours:
Monday - Friday 2:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Saturday 1:00 - 3:00 pm

General:
Monday - Friday 11:00 am - 7:00 pm
Saturday 3:00 - 7:00 pm

For more information about the CyberCenter

contact Mark English at 624-1779

For more information about the David Bohnett Foundation

The David Bohnett Foundation
CyberCenters around the country