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Bus delivers free technology classes
Sessions for both kids & adult, seniors
Tyler Gales used his camera to take close up photos of flowers outside the Technology Outreach Bus last summer and then downloaded them on a laptop. - photo by HIME ROMERO


• WHAT: Free technology classes
• WHEN: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday: Session One is June 7-9, Session Two is June 14-16, Session Three is June 21-23
• WHERE: Technology Outreach Bus in Best Buy parking lot
• COST: Free
• SIGN-UP: To secure space contact Kristina VanDePol at or call 825-7003

Manteca’s “Magic Bus” is pulling into the Best Buy parking lot for free sessions next month to open the world of Internet, computers and even cell phones to the young and old alike.

The Give Every Child a Chance’s Technology Outreach Bus is equipped with 10 laptop computers. Those computers – as well as the air conditioning – are run by solar power.

Free classes will take place on the bus while it is parked in the Best Buy parking lot at The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley at Union Road and the Highway 120 Bypass. The first two sessions each day are designed for senior citizens and adults while the third class is reserved for kids.

There will be five classes a week for three weeks taking place Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday either June 7-9, June 14-16, or June 21-23.

Available sessions that offer three classes in a week either June 7-9, June 14-16 or June 21-23 are as follows:


• 8:30 to 9:30 a.m., personal computer (PC) basics camp

• 9:45 to 10:45 a.m. photo basics on Tuesday, social networking on Wednesday, & cell phone basics on Thursday

Youth 4th grade & up

• 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. kids’ camera camp for fourth graders and up.

Best Buy employees will be instructing the summer classes.

Space is limited for the free programs.

To sign up for the free Best Buy sessions contact Kristina VanDePol at or call (209) 825-7003.

During the school year, the bus travels to 13 various elementary campuses within the Manteca Unified School District. Sets of 10 students at a time receive two weeks of 45-minute lessons after school to learn everything from keyboarding and safe Internet surfing to mannerisms on line.

Surveys of GECAC students and parents showed that 84 percent of them had little or no access to computers beyond school.

That by far doesn’t reflect the overall school population but it does underscore that the students who need computer knowledge the most to succeed - those struggling from low-income families - aren’t getting enough help to learn the technology that is becoming more and more essential not just to get an education but also to secure a job that can support a household.

The community-based GECAC is now serving over 4,000 students - many who are struggling in school - through six basic programs including one-on-one tutoring, homework assistance and after school programs that have equal components of homework help, physical education and enrichment activities.

The Technology Outreach Program is a free program aimed at serving those in the first through fourth graders who have little or no access to computers.

An estimated 700 students access the bus each year throughout the Manteca Unified School District.

The sponsors for the bus are California Consumer Protection Foundation, Arvin Home Systems, Aram Solar, Kaiser Permanente, Verizon, United Way of San Joaquin County, Mountain Valley Express, Kraft 5, Manteca Trailer and Motorhome, and Manteca Unified School District.