What goes on at The LABB?
Everyday the kids and teens that come to The Labb have to sign the "daily attendance sheet". It's a sheet that asks them for their age, first and last name, race, zip code and whether or not its their first time attending The Labb. These sheets are used at the end of each month to create stat sheets using MS Access. Every hour on the hour "the switch" is done, the children line up and are asked which computer they want, with the ones that havent been on getting first choice. Their choices are recorded on the computer and saved in our server for record keeping purposes. They stay on for an hour at a time, and no one that has just gotten off can get back on for at least a hour. These small basic rules about computer usage are part of a larger group of rules that are well known to the kids and teens of The Labb. The children know they cannot swear, cannot hurt one another, that there is no eating near the computers, no gambling or betting, and a very important one - that if you break these rules you will be asked to leave The Labb. They are simple rules, ones everyone can follow and we believe that they continue to follow the basic rules of The Labb even when they arent In The Labb.
The kids check their email, do research projects online, browse the web for their own pleasure/profit, get technical advice... learn more about what they are interested in on their own time. Recently almost all of the older teens that come to The Labb have been learning on their own with the help of The Labb's staff how to build their own pcs. They have learned how to do their own online research, to order parts and pay for them (by getting jobs on their own) and put them together by themselves, with over the phone help from us. Then they bring the finished product down, where they install their own network cards, and adapt their computers to The Labb's network. It has gone on so long now that there is no computer room left in The Labb, the kids have to wait for someone to take their computer home to bring theirs down. And no one has forced them to learn the many things they had to learn to build their own computer, they learned it by asking questions, by absorbing the knowledge that they needed to get the job done.
The children, kids and teens that attend The Labb regularly are happy people, in a years time maybe we have three fights... almost no property theft, and when The Labb closes, the kids that live in the same area all walk home together... not because we force them to, but because its the natural thing for new friends to do together.