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NetDay AmeriCorps Bridge Program
Rio Grande Valley, TX
NetDay Difference
Getting Things Done
NetDay AmeriCorps Bridge members are responsible for increasing computer accessibility maintaining a minimum of 100 computers with at least 85% of computers operational at all times. They teach computer technology skills to a minimum of 20 teachers and at least 50 students. Through surveys, logs, and weekly reports, members measure the success of their efforts.

In Mercedes, members work under school site technology coordinator to provide support for equipment, assistance with students, and planning for teachers. At the elementary schools, they supervise students on their weekly visits to labs to practice skills based on classroom curriculum. Members select appropriate LightSpan curriculum based on teachers' recommendations and assist students with using Playstation devices. They also schedule and setup a mobile laptop cart for classroom or library use.

Members at Mercedes Junior High provide technical troubleshooting and support for 250 computers under Site Technology Coordinator Judy Vanberg. Vanberg is responsible for the Tech Dome, a multipurpose area connected to the library with several learning labs, a distance learning center, and a mobile laptop cart.  

More Than a Job–Member Development
The communities of the Rio Grande Valley are studies in contrast. Wealthy Mexican nationals cross the river to shop in growing retail centers; first generation Americans dwell in substandard housing. Families follow the crops as migrant farm workers from April to October; white-collar parents work for the school district, university, or local hospitals.

Most of the AmeriCorps Bridge members come from the Valley and either attend classes at the local university or expect to earn scholarship money for future study. Some plan to stay in the Valley and others are looking for a way out. The program keeps them involved in the community, helping the next generation of students by providing positive role models somewhere between parents and children.

Strengthening Communities
The NetDay AmeriCorps Bridge members in the Rio Grande Valley support national service days by organizing events with partner organizations. Each team of students takes on a responsibility for planning, communication, implementation, and follow-up. They have planted gardens, supported the Special Olympics, and provided other support.