The Intel Computer Clubhouse Network

Telecentres have a serious role to play in assisting young people in their transition from school to the job market. That’s why Telecentre-Europe is linking up with the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network, an international affiliation of organizations that provide opportunities for young people from underserved communities to explore their own interests and become confident learners through the use of technology.

The Intel Computer Clubhouse Network is an international community of 100 Computer Clubhouses located in 20 different countries around the world. In Europe, there are Computer Clubhouses in Denmark, Ireland and Hungary.

What is a Computer Clubhouse?
A Computer Clubhouse provides a creative and safe out-of-school learning environment where young people from underserved communities work closely with adult mentors, creating a rich and diverse learning community that uses state-of-the-art computers and software to experiment and develop computer-based projects inspired by their own ideas.

History
The Clubhouse was founded in 1993 by The Computer Museum (now part of Boston’s Museum of Science) in collaboration with the MIT Media Lab. Based on community interest, community-based Clubhouses were set up at many community centers in inner-city communities across the USA and around the world, using youth organizations, community centers, and other community organizations as “hosts.” Many were started with funding by Intel Corporation, others by local foundations, corporations, government agencies, and individuals who believe in the Clubhouse mission. On an ongoing basis, all are supported by their own local funding resources.

How to become a Computer Clubhouse?
The Boston’s Museum of Science, where the Computer Clubhouse Network is based, is a small non-governmental organization that provides programmatic assistance during Clubhouse start-up and then ongoing support once a Clubhouse is up and running. It has trademarked the name Computer Clubhouse and licenses its use for organizations interested in applying to become Computer Clubhouse affiliates and willing to have the following characteristics:

  • Serve youth weekdays after school and weekends (a minimum of 20 hours per week).
  • Provide opportunities for open-ended exploration during that time (versus classes with a fixed curriculum).
  • Provide high-end professional software for creative expression and scientific exploration (versus computer games for entertainment only).
  • Ensure youth from underserved communities have access to the program.
  • Encourage the participation of adult mentors who can serve as role models and support the development of a sense of community.
  • Participate in the broader Clubhouse community through membership in the Computer Clubhouse Network.

There are three essential ingredients for a Clubhouse start-up to succeed:

  1. A host organization that will provide a stable physical “home” for the Clubhouse.
  2. One or more funders who will support the costs of the Clubhouse, including providing funding to staff and support it on an ongoing basis. The start-up costs of a Computer Clubhouse are around $100,000, and a Clubhouse’s annual operating expenses are around $70,000 – $80,000, depending on local cost of living.
  3. An individual who is willing to champion the Clubhouse effort. In addition, a Clubhouse requires a full-time, paid staff person.

For more information on starting a Computer Clubhouse, please visit www.computerclubhouse.org