Byte Back is a local non-profit that addresses the growing digital divide between low-income, disadvantaged people and those with the benefit of higher education. We recently learned that the organization, located in Brookland since 1997, is moving onward and upward to a larger and modern location. From an email:
In the past 20 years, Byte Back has grown. This new facility will give students the space they need to learn and thrive. Everyone in the Byte Back community will feel comfortable, safe, and proud in the state-of-the-art classrooms and offices.
We’ll be two blocks from Union Station, in NoMa, easily accessible from anywhere in DC.
Tell Me More!
Byte Back’s new location is 6,226 sq. ft., and will include offices, four classrooms, and our first-ever video production studio and virtual classroom!
We’re currently working with a team of architects and engineers to design the interior. They’ll be working through the spring to prepare the space for our summer move. Byte Back will continue to partner to offer courses at locations throughout the Washington, DC metro area.
How Can I Help?
Now’s the time to get involved to make sure Byte Back has the facilities and equipment to help our students succeed. See opportunities to get involved below or contact development associate Chris Wallace at email@example.com or (202) 803-2863 for more information.
Byte Back will make its move this summer and they are currently located directly across from the Brookland Metro at 815 Monroe Street NE. While we will be sad to see them go, we are happy to see this great organization grow and provide even more services. Best of luck, Byte Back!
Byte Back is Brookland’s local non-profit that addresses the growing digital divide between low-income, disadvantaged people and those with the benefit of higher education. In August 2015 Elizabeth Lindsey took over the Executive Director position at the organization, and now that she is settled in, we thought we would catch up with her and ask some questions.
Tell our readers a little bit about yourself. What is your professional background?
I’ve always wanted to be involved with organizations and programs that help low-income families thrive and become financially self-sustaining. Before Byte Back, I worked at
Groundswell, an environmental organization in DC. I focused on building the organization from a start-up to an established, well-run organization. I’m passionate about making nonprofits work better to enhance the potential impact.
I also worked in state and local government, including the DC Department of Employment Services. It helped me understand the complexities of the workforce development system, learning about what worked and what didn’t in terms of moving people towards living-wage jobs. I received my Master’s in Public Affairs and Urban Planning from Princeton and I apply it every day, looking at issues through economic, microeconomic, and policy lenses.
How have you liked working in Brookland so far?
I really like it. I live in SE Capitol Hill so this is a different community. I go out to the local businesses a lot. I had lunch at Brookland Pint today. Brookland’s a great location with a diverse group of people living and working here, including the people who come to Byte Back. We have students who come from Ward Five as well as other parts of the District. I love that Brookland is accessible via public transportation. I’m really enjoying being here.
The last time we did a story on Byte Back was 2013. What has changed since then?
A lot has changed for Byte Back since 2013. Byte Back was founded in 1997 to move people into careers in technology before people were even talking about the digital divide. We spent most of our time as a small, neighborhood organization. Six or seven years ago we began to grow in scale and we’ve continued to grow since 2013. We offer classes not only in Brookland, but across the District. This trimester we’re offering classes in five DC Public Library sites, at Skyland Workforce Development Center, and in Spanish at several community organizations. We try to reach all of DC.
I’ve been at Byte Back for seven months. I’m focused on continuing to make Byte Back a well-functioning organization. We’ve overhauled our data collection systems, completely changed and updated our website and logo, and are becoming more sophisticated with our operations.
What are your plans for Byte Back going forward?
Going forward we’ll continue to focus on moving our students along our career pathway from beginning, digital literacy classes into advanced, certification classes and into living-wage jobs. In the past, people saw Byte Back as a place to go and learn how to use a computer. We are that, but we’re also much more than that. We offer an opportunity for people to come in at any level and work through our classes and get employment that actually changes their lives. These positions will help them support their families, pay their bills, and have a career, not just a job. We’ve renewed our focus on that and we’ll continue to do so.
How can the Brookland community get involved to further your mission?
Great question! We have a lot of volunteer opportunities. All of our beginner and intermediate level classes are taught by volunteers. We can’t afford to teach over 900 students a year without volunteers. Members of the Brookland community can volunteer to teach or serve as mentors for our students. We’re also looking for organizations that will hire Byte Back students as full-time employees or interns. Our students receive support and rigorous training on how to succeed in a career. I think a lot of organizations could really benefit from hiring a Byte Back student.
And, of course, we’re a non-profit. We don’t make money and are dependent on foundation and individual supporters and government contracts. If any Brookland residents are looking for an organization to support financially we are always appreciative. Financial support is extremely helpful in enabling us to make an impact. You can also check out Byte Back through an upcoming Digital Access Tour.
Anything else you would like our readers to know?
We have an annual Community Computer Day which we’d love for the Brookland community to attend. We haven’t chosen a date yet, but we’ll let Brookland Bridge know when we do. It’s a fun event with workshops where people can come and learn about subjects like how to use social media or LinkedIn. There is food and there are games for the kids. It’s a really nice way that we are looking forward to giving back to the Brookland community.
Thanks to Ms. Lindsey for answering our questions. For those interested, the next Digital Access Tour will be on Wednesday April 13th from 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm. Byte Back is located at 815 Monroe Street NE.
Byte Back is Brookland’s local non-profit that addresses the growing digital divide between low-income, disadvantaged people and those with the benefit of higher education. (Check out the interview we did with them back in 2013.) They do this by providing computer training, access to technology, and career services to underserved adults in DC. If you are interested in volunteering, check out their monthly Digital Access Tours, a one-hour tour of their Brookland headquarters that gives an overview of Byte Back’s work and impact on our community. RSVP here for the next tour and check out the tweet below.
Byte Back is Brookland’s local non-profit that addresses the growing digital divide between low-income, disadvantaged people and those with the benefit of higher education. (Check out the interview we did with them back in 2013.) You can easily support this this great organization and the work they do providing computer training, access to technology, and career services to underserved adults in DC by simply shopping at Amazon.com. Check out the tweet below.
Byte Back is Brookland’s local non-profit that addresses the growing digital divide between low-income, disadvantaged people and those with the benefit of higher education. (Check out the interview we did with them back in 2013.) This great organization is hosting its 8th Annual Community Computer Day this Saturday. They will have a raffle, food, games, computer workshops, DJ, moon bounce, laptop giveaway, cotton candy, kids’ games, face painting, popcorn and more. Check out the flyer below and please be sure to RSVP at their event page so they can plan to have plenty of food, prizes, and fun for everyone!
Maybe like many of you, I have been walking by the Byte Back location at the corner of 9th Street and Monroe many times. And although I kind of knew what they do, I wanted to find out what the story is behind this non-profit organization. Especially after our good neighbor First Time Computers gave up their location on 12th Street NE, and I learned that their operation merged with Byte Back, I wanted to find out more.
Many thanks to Kelley Ellsworth, the Executive Director, who agreed to answer my questions, and with a lot of enthusiasm provided many details about her organization.
– Please introduce yourself to our readers:
I am a fourth generation Washingtonian who is deeply invested in our city. I have four children, two attend DCPS schools and two are DCPS graduates.
– What is your relation to Brookland? Do you live here?
I live in Ward three, but have grown very fond of Brookland. I think it has a warm, friendly, small-town feel, which is so refreshing to find in a big city!
– What is Byte Back? How did it start?
Byte Back was founded in 1997 by Glenn Stein, a computer professional and community leader, to address the growing digital divide between low-income, disadvantaged people and those with the benefit of higher education. Our mission is to improve economic opportunity by providing computer training and employment readiness skills to low-income residents of the Washington Metropolitan area.
– How has the organization developed over time?
Over the past six years, Byte Back grew from 2 to 25 sites and expanded the number of students taught annually from 293 to over 1,400 (478%). We also added a number of industry recognized IT certification training programs that lead to mid-level jobs that pay living wages. Byte Back was a two-time finalist for the Washington Post Award for Excellence in Non-Profit Management (2010 and 2012).
– How did you connect with First Time Computers?
About five years ago, we began purchasing refurbished computers from First Time Computers to give to the graduates of our programs. A couple years later, we began teaching our A+ certification classes at First Time Computers, where the instructors could access various computer equipment, tools and supplies to show to the students. Soon thereafter, we began sending our A+ certification graduates for an 80-hour internship at First Time Computers, where they got hands-on experiencing refurbishing computers using a variety of methodology. The internships gave the students something valuable to put on their resumes, gave them the trouble-shooting experience they needed to pass the certification exam, and also provided a boost to their self-esteem which grew from giving back to the community by providing computers to low-income families.
– How will you fit both operations in your current space?
In February we began renting a new refurbishing facility in Deanwood, just a few doors down from the Deanwood Metro. We held our ribbon cutting ceremony on April 12 and began distributing newly refurbished computers. This new location is about the same size at the First Time Computers location, but is more affordable for us to rent.
– Were you able to keep some of the First Time Computer Team Members?
Yes! Our Logistics Coordinator, Terry Johnson, worked at First Time Computers. Our Director of Refurbishing and Repairs, Ronald Wade, and our Refurbisher, Jonathan Ladson, both took A+ through Byte Back and completed internships at First Time Computers.
– How can Brookland residents benefit of Byte Back?
We offer a wide variety of computer classes at Byte Back, from basic computer literacy classes to Microsoft Office, QuickBooks, HTML and PC Hardware to various IT certification courses such as Microsoft Office Specialist, IC3, MCITP, A+, Net+ and Security+. Our beginning classes are free to low-income individuals and often we can help a student find funding for our more advanced classes. We also have two computer in our lobby which are available for community members to use at any time. Our classroom computers are also available for use when there is not class taking place. Every Spring we hold a huge community outreach event called Community Computer Day, with a full day of free technology workshops, a cookout picnic, a deejay, moon bounce, face painting, cotton candy, etc. This event just took place on May 18. Despite the rain, we had close to 200 participants! We also hold a one-hour tour twice a month when you can meet some of our staff, hear about our work, and hear directly from at least one student.
– How can Brookland residents help Byte Back?
We are always looking for more students, volunteers and donors as well as employers willing to provide internships and/or jobs for our students. Our biggest need is for instructors and assistant instructors to teach our most basic classes. You do not have to be an IT professional to teach these classes – just someone who is comfortable using a computer. We also need instructors to teach our more advanced classes, as well as individuals to create and/or revise curricula, help with fundraising, serve on our board of directors, or take on a special project. We also have a need for “one-time” volunteers to drop in an work one-on-one with our students on their resume, cover letter or interview skills, or to help them keep up with their classwork.
– Anything else you would like our readers to know?
Under the Community Benefits Agreement for the 901 Monroe Street development project (the Colonel Brooks Tavern property), Byte Back will receive $25,000 to purchase new computers for our lab and our two classrooms. We encourage members of the Brookland community who have not already taken Byte Back classes to stop by and take advantage of this opportunity.
Over the past couple of months, I have noticed that Byte Back, a non-profit organization located here in Brookland has spruced up their exterior a bit. In late summer they had granite tiles you can see here in the forefront. But, several had fallen off the arch and one of the columns.
Here you can see that the tiles have been removed and insulation put in:
Here is the end result, pretty nice. Way to go Byte Back!
If you are unfamiliar with the organization, here is what they are all about (from the Byte Back website):
Byte Back, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization…that provides computer literacy andemployment readiness skills to underserved communities throughout Washington D.C. Our mission is to improve economic opportunities by providing computer and technology courses to low-income residents in D.C..
Byte Back is located at 815 Monroe St. NE.
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