LINCT/Time Dollar - Phoenix, Arizona

Best Practice


  1. How long has the program been in existence? April 1997
  2. What are the most successful components of the program?
  3. One of the most successful components of the Goals Achieved Through Education (GATE) program would certainly be the school peer-tutoring program. Here one-on-one tutoring is conducted as well as utilizing the school computer lab to facilitate a learning environment for K-8th grade students. The school has expanded the program to include parents involved in the classroom and/or parents who are currently taking GED or ESOL classes.

    The second component worth mentioning is the community service component. The families in the Murphy School District, which also include the Maricopa County Housing public housing residents, are encouraged to get involved in community type services and/or programs. The emphasis is for the families to learn to be self sufficient as well as economically sufficient and give back to their community.

    In both of these components the participants are given time dollar credits for their volunteer and/or participation hours. Each participant that earns 100 volunteer hours can exchange them for a refurbished computer system including software.

    Currently we have 2 labs and 1 instructor available to train the volunteers on the software. Normally for the adult population we serve, this is the first time they have touch a computer and for others this provides some of the basic job training skills needed in the field of technology.

  4. How many participants enter the program each year?
  5. Applications are taken throughout the year but currently we have approximately 200 applications on file. In December 1999, I was notified that there was a backlog of approximately 60 applications waiting to be processed through the Time Dollar banker.

  6. What is the definition of successful completion?
  7. The mission of the GATE program is to get at least one computer into every household of the district. Successful completion would also include making a difference in the studentís grades, providing opportunities for adults to receive job training and getting the community involved in making their neighborhood a better and safer place to live.

  8. How many participants successfully complete the program each year?
    To date we have distributed approximately 85 computers systems to families in the district.

  9. Have there been any criticisms of the program and how have they been addressed?
    Sure, mainly not enough computer stations and need more and later hours to conduct the software training. We recently opened up an eight-station computer lab in the neighborhood Park and Recreation Center, which addressed both issues. In addition, one of the school partners, Hamilton School, has offered space to set up an additional 10 stations and this will also include extended hours into the evening.

  10. What are the program goals for the next two years?

Our goals are to train other volunteer residents to run the computer labs, open up more labs in other Maricopa County Housing public housing sites, continue to recruit district wide with the assistance of the schools and most importantly, look for funds to help with possibly paying the lab instructors and most definitely hiring a computer technician to trouble shoot, computer lab supplies, and sending residents for further skills training.



Which type of story is this?
  • Individuals (of all ages) Learning How to use Technology
  • Community Technology Programs


Name: Iris Blackwell

Address: 1509 S. 19th Drive #260

Phoenix, Arizona 85009

Home Phone: (602) 257-4510

Work Phone: (602) 256-6678

Fax: (602) 256-6708



The old Iris Blackwell was:

  • an undocumented, Spanish-speaking female with one child from Honduras
  • on public assistance
  • did not possess computer skills or have experience in the field of technology
  • was not involved in the community
  • was involved in her daughterís school (Hamilton) as a clean-up/janitorial parent volunteer

The new Iris Blackwell has:

  • received her GED
  • been the Block Watch President for the Coffelt Housing site for the past four years
  • received legal status to work in the US
  • terminated her public assistance
  • been attending the WYSR Academy, a technology and life skills program
  • received college credits for her participation in the WYSR Academy apprenticeship program
  • been volunteering as the Coffelt Lab instructor since last summer
  • been hired as the Project Coordinator for an employment and training program offered by the Coffelt Resident Council. They received $100,000 to conduct training programs.

Iris is still a participant of the WYSR Academy and due to her commitment to continue her education in the field of technology and knowledge in this field, she hired as the TOP Grant Project Coordinator. She is now receiving $10.00 an hour (part-time) and she continues to volunteer her time as the Lab Instructor for the GATE program. She conducts classes 3 times a week from 8:00 am to 12:00 noon. The ages of the students range from 11 to seniors. Soon our age will include 6-year old children because they volunteered to clean up the park to earn time dollar credits. Most of the adult students are monolingual - Spanish speaking only. To date, 32 students have graduated her class with basic computer skills. Within the past 3 months, Iris took a second job, evening hours, and was told she was hired because of her experience with computers. She is still the Block Watch President and actively patrols the Coffelt neighborhood during the daytime and at night when she gets home from her 2nd job. Iris has become a community leader. The Coffelt residents look to her for inspiration and direction. There are many women in the neighborhood who now can see a future for themselves. Iris is their role model.

Kevin, I asked Iris what impact has technology had in her life and this is what she stated (paraphrased): she was given an opportunity to learn computers and she has really enjoyed it. The training helped her get 2 jobs and she wants to help her community too. So her dream is to make sure everyone in the community learns technology skills. She wants everyone documented or undocumented to have these skills because someday they will need to support themselves. She wants every family to have a computer in their home. The kids need a computer for school and for the weekends to play games.     ©1999 EPIE Institute