Community Technology Center

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RAIN Community Internet
Organization Profile

RAIN National Public Internet is the technology and education program of Visible Light, Inc., a California non-profit 501c3 educational communications corporation based in Santa Barbara, California.

Visible Light was founded in 1978. Now in it's 26th year as a Santa Barbara Community Foundation, Visible Light began the RAIN Community Internet project in 1991, working in cooperation with the University of California, Santa Barbara and the National Science Foundation.

RAIN was one of the first public Internet access programs in the United States.

Since beginning the RAIN Network we have seen the application of Technology as a Community Empowerment tool work successfully in many ways to make our Community a better place.

Jobs have been created. RAIN, as a non-profit, has employed upto 12 staff per project, bringing new jobs to Santa Barbara.

Youth activities have been created and scholarships created to allow young people to work with the resources at RAIN's Community Technology Center and Computer Lab.

Resources, free education and Internet for Seniors and Families have become an established part of the Santa Barbara community experience because of the of the classes and scholarships provided by RAIN Network.

Visible Light is proud of the Community Technology Center and CyberStop which has made a computer lab and learning center available to Santa Barbara residents since 1995.

Used as a training lab for Teachers, Physicians, high school students and low-income families, the Community Technology Center is an extraordinary example of the successful application of technology in the community.

RAIN is now in it's 14th year of service as a Public Internet Network.

As a non-profit Internet system RAIN represents an important alternative to large Corporate owned telecommunications and Internet Networks.

Diversity in our choice of Internet Provider as well as our choice of Web sites is essential if the Internet is to continue growing and evolving.

The roots of the RAIN Network are deeply woven into the soil of "Community Networking". One of the original purposes of the RAIN Network was to help Santa Barbara, California develop a bi-lingual Community Network.

In the years since that beginning RAIN has helped begin "Community" level Internet programs and connectivity in 150 rural communities in California and the Southwest and Hawaii as well as helping start free Public Internet programs in Belize , Ghana, Costa Rica.

RAIN currently has classrooms taking part in the Network's Camp Internet classroom program in China, Nepal, England, Scotland, and throughout the United States.

The field of "distance education" is very important to the RAIN Network.

Since beginning work in 1991, the RAIN Network has provided free Internet and distance education scholarships to over 22,000 4th-12 grade school children in California and the Southwest.

Over 5,000 Community Scholarships to Master Technology Families and Youth Technology Corps members have also been awarded.

450 schools in California have received 2 to 4 years scholarships to take part in distance education programming, receive free computer hardware and free Internet access.

The area of Community economic development the RAIN Network has provided hardware for Community Internet Centers, training for library, school and local government staff, and Internet access for 150 Rural Communities in California and the Southwest.

These projects have received funding from the USDA Rural Utilities Service, the University of California and Santa Barbara Housing Authority, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense (for Electronic Commerce Center in Santa Barbara), Albertsons Corporation and the U.S.G.S. for GIS mapping.

In the area of Telemedicine and Community Wellness, the RAIN Network has provided free computer hardware, free Internet and free professional training for Doctors, Nurses and Community Health workers since 1997 through grants from the USDA Rural Utilities Service telemedicine, the California Telemedicine and Telehealth Foundation (UC Davis), Albertsons Corporation and the National Science Foundation.

12 Health Clinics which are part of the Community Health Centers of the Central Coast are part of our Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo telemedicine work.

The Fire Department in New Cuyama has provided the location for a Telemedicine workstation in the New Cuyama community, and the Landon Pediatric Foundation in Ventura is the center for our work with Ventura County Health and other agencies in the Ventura and Oxnard area.

Here is a brief overview of recent activities:

Since 1997 RAIN has received:

6 USDA Rural Utilities Service distance learning and telemedicine grants,

4 year California Department of Education technology literacy grant,

2 community development grants from the California Consumer Protection Foundation

2 year GIS Metadata Clearinghouse grants from the U.S.G.S.

2 year Community Wellness grant from Albertsons Corporation

2 year Telemedicine grant from the California Telemedicine and Telehealth Center, U.C. Davis

2 AOL Rural Technology Awards

A Smithsonian Institution Technology Innovation Award

A Department of Defense ECRC contract to open an Electronic Commerce Resource Center in Central California for work with small businesses. .

RAIN operates a solar powered Internet bus which provides a mobile lab for families and seniors with limited mobility. Using satellite connectivity for the Internet and a small lab of computers in the bus, RAIN has established a next generation "bookmobile" serving our Central California region.

The RAIN Network Community Technology Center has been located at 1129 State Street, in Santa Barbara, California since 1994. The Community Technology Center provides residents, non-profit organizations, church groups and schools access to a 15 computer lab with high speed Internet and excellent teaching tools. The Center has been the site of RAIN's Department of Defense Electronic Commerce Resource Center, as well as a teaching lab for Camp Internet and RAIN's Telemedicine Program.

Camp Internet is RAIN's education program. Awarded the Smithsonian Institution's Technology Innovation Award for work in classrooms in California, Camp Internet has served over 22,000 4th-12th grade students and provides the core distance education content for RAIN's Rural Technology Projects.

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