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Data processing group targets computer literacy

Published Oct. 9, 2005

There's a new group in town, and they're all about information. They are the Greater Tampa Bay Chapter of the Black Data Processing Associates.

The group, which became a member of the national organization last month, wants to increase computer literacy. The group of about 25 members has set up a variety of programs to get started toward that goal.

Roger Clement, the group's vice president, belonged to the Dallas chapter before he returned to Tampa and saw a need for the group here.

"It's for anyone currently involved or interested in the computer industry," he said.

Among the BDPA's first efforts are computer workshops, beginning in September at Chamberlain High School, as well as a black male mentoring program.

The group also will head out to area school career days to let students know what's out there, in the computer field.

The group also will be working with three or four area sophomores and juniors to improve their computer skills. The students then will be sent to compete in computer contests at the national conference in August, Clement said. The chapter needs sponsors to help pay students' expenses, he said.

To become a sponsor or a member of the chapter, write to the organization at BDPA, P.O. Box 350114, Tampa, FL 33695, or call 978-8654.

Bringing together men, boys

The idea for the Men II Boys conference was to bring black men and boys together to talk and, it is hoped, learn. The event, which was the brainchild of Lee Davis Neighborhood Service Center officials, brought together about 150 black junior high school boys who had disciplinary problems.

"We find that age group drops out of school more readily than any other age group," said Roy Robinson, program coordinator for the center's full-service school. The school goes beyond the basic to offer motivation and encouragement to students.

He said about a dozen speakers, including Wali Shabazz of the National Front to Develop African-American Males, addressed the group.

The boys then broke into groups and discussed crime and delinquency; family, school and community life; and life management skills.

The next conference is scheduled for September. The center would like to make the conference an annual event, but it needs money and mentors.

"African-American males are almost an endangered species," Robinson said. "We're committed to having more of these in the years to come."

For more information, contact Robinson at 272-5220.

Conference for singles

Black singles will be able to get together in August at a conference for that purpose in Tampa. "Living Victoriously in Christ" is the theme of the conference.

The pastor and members of the Bible Based Fellowship Church attended a similar one in Houston last year and liked the idea.

"We decided we should have one in the Tampa Bay area," said Jerry Watson, a member of the church and co-coordinator for the church's singles ministry. "It really showed that it strengthened every member who attended."

To attract as many people as possible, the organizers have mailed 800 notices to churches throughout the state.

The festivities, which take place Aug. 6-8 at the Omni Westshore Hotel, will include get-togethers and seminars. Among the seminars are singles and sexuality, single parenting and issues relating specifically to black men and black women.

"We hope people will be spiritually enriched," he said. But, "you don't have to be Christian to attend the conference."

Early bird registration, at $35, is June 30. Registration aftre that but before July 30 is $45. On-site registration is $55. Hotel rooms are $55 at the Omni for those attending the conference.

For more information, contact Bible Based Fellowship Church at 264-4053 or write to the church at 4811 Ehrlich Road, Tampa, FL 33624.