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Invitation to tour technology center at Heritage House

TECHNOLOGY CENTER – Robert Jones (seated) and Jeremy Smith try out the new computers in the Heritage House technology center.

The Heritage House Holidays event, scheduled for December 10, from 5 to 7 p.m., invites the public to view the state-of-the-art technology center funded through a grant awarded to the Office of Cultural Affairs through a Juvenile Accountability Block Grant from the MS Department of Public Safety.

Known as the CrossRoads Project, the program is being developed for at-risk kids and community youth who are interested in arts and technology.  The new program is modeled after the YouthArts program developed through the US Juvenile Delinquency Prevention.  

“Our curriculum is based on the YouthArts model, but we are also making sure our youth are exposed to state-of-the art technology. The more youth know about technology from whatever discipline, the more they are prepared for jobs of the future,” stated Janet Schriver, the Executive Director of the Office of Cultural Affairs, program director for the CrossRoads Project and former multimedia instructor for the Dallas County Community College District.

The Department of Public Safety grant has provided funds for a wireless environment in Heritage House that is filled with Apple technology.  An Apple Cart with ten MacBooks, a teacher’s station, and a network printer is the core of the system.  

An 18-inch iMac is the resource for music-making with AudioEngine speakers, Snowball Mic, and Sennheiser headgear.  A 24-inch iMac with Final Cut Studio  2 and Adobe Suite software provides a video editing workstation and graphics studio.  

Camera equipment for movie-making and art projects are included with pocket camcorders allowed for check-out by students.  A small video studio is awaiting light equipment delivery.  Performance equipment includes projectors for a viewing room, lighting and PA equipment, and a keyboard.

According to Schriver, the equipment use is limited to youth who are admitted to the current program, but her hope is to increase programming opportunities through partnerships with colleges, youth organizations, and other government agencies.

“Currently we are offering classes from a broad perspective, but our next step is to offer software specific multimedia classes using the extensive multimedia software loaded on our computers.  Who knows?  We could be creating a small music and video industry run by teenagers who thought they had nothing to do.”

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