Microsoft helps launch new free community digital lab in Vancouver's Chinatown

Jun 20 2019, 2:27 am

A recently-opened community hub in Vancouver’s Chinatown district is expanding its programming in a big way, with the help of Microsoft.

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Chinatown House announced its new Community Digital Lab (CDL) this week, providing free programming, workshops, and mentor-led labs this summer for kids and adults in the Downtown Eastside.

Kids will have access to programs such as learning how to code their own video game, making their own movies with 3D and mixed reality technologies, and a STEM workshop.

For older youth and adults, the program entails a six-part workshop series to help participants learn the tools to achieve more with job search and prepare for a thriving career.

Through these workshops, they will create a solid foundation of everyday skills that will be used both in the office and at home. They will also work with mentors in a range of different topics in technology, including gaming, film, virtual reality, and augmented reality.

The CDL is made possible by support from the Vancouver Computer Graphic Society and Microsoft, which is providing the content and instructors for all the programming.

“Technology is such a huge part of our society today, and it is up to organizations such
as ourselves to offer programming to those who are interested but may not otherwise
have the means to access it,” said Minna Van, executive director of Chinatown
House and the operator of The Network Hub, a local chain of co-working offices.

Non-profit organizations in the Downtown Eastside will have first priority in registering local Downtown Eastside residents for the workshops, before it is made available to the general public on July 1.

Chinatown House, which opened its doors last fall at 188 East Pender Street, is a community-oriented co-working location that also serves as a technology incubator and hosts community events and programming that celebrates Asian culture, including Chinese language lessons, intergenerational cooking opportunities, and food and tea tasting events.

Earlier this year, Chinatown House temporarily became a popular hotspot for coffee, with Van’s unique pop-up Ca Phe Vietnamese Coffee House setting up at the hub’s front food service counter. The enormous popularity of Ca Phe helped fund the CDL.

“I’m proud of the team for helping this dream come to fruition. Part of the
proceeds to get this up and running came from our Ca Phe Vietnamese Coffee House
pop-up,” continued Van.

“I hope the courses, workshops, and lab time really invigorate the community to
go after their own interest in tech.”

Interested participants in CDL workshops can learn more at Chinatown House’s website.

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Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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