Community Builder: Celebrating 20 Years of giving a fresh start

Updated: Oct. 23, 2019 at 4:21 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Fast Forward Community Technology Center on Devine Street in Columbia just celebrated a 20 year milestone.

Executive Director Dee Albritton explained the center’s mission.

“We use technology -- whether it’s computers or computer access -- to help people achieve their goals," she said. “So it may be kids learning how to use things, or summer camps for technology for children, or helping veterans as they are transitioning into employment looking for jobs, doing resumes, completing online classes.”

Albritton, who has been with Fast Forward since its inception, says more than ‪800 veterans have found jobs from using their services.

“It’s amazing for the people who have come through here, the folks who I have seen over the 20 years, when I look at these preschoolers who first came in, they all have now graduated high school and have gone to college," Albritton explained. "So it’s a little nostalgic perhaps.”

Community volunteer Mike Gray helped organize the 20 year celebration at Fast Forward.

“When you think back 20 years ago when only 36 percent of us had a computer at home and only 16 percent of us had access the internet -- things have changed dramatically, but there is still a large population for who that’s a problem," Gray said.

Matt Mungo surprised Albritton as our latest Community Builder, in partnership with Mungo Homes.

Albritton was excited to find out she was selected.

“I was surprised completely," she said. “That $1,000 will go right into Fast Forward because that is the charity of my choice. It will probably be used for things our grants don’t cover.”

Mayor Steve Benjamin attended the 20 year celebration and matched the $1,000 gift from Mungo Homes personally. Benjamin said it was his way of showing his appreciation.

“She’s a walking treasure trove of incredible data," Benjamin said of Albritton. "I mean if you want good policy ideas and someone who has the will and commitment to making it happen for people who need it most, it’s Dee.”

To nominate someone to be recognized as a Community Builder, click or tap here.

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