CCAT launches educational mobile unit to serve children in rural communities

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The outside of the Community Center for the Arts and Technology (CCAT) educational mobile unit looks like any other trailer, but if you open the door there is a world of opportunities inside.

It is a high-tech classroom and a production van all wrapped in to one. It is equipped with laptops, tablets and even drone technology.

On a weekly basis, all of this will be delivered to children living in rural communities.

Armando Valdez, the director of CCAT, said the endeavor has been a longtime dream of his. It took five years to raise enough funds and now his dream is a reality.

"These are kids whose parents and families cannot afford this kind of technology, so we can take it to them and they can use it," said Valdez.

The non-profit offers free digital media, performing classes and much more to children. Now they'll be able to take everything they have to offer into under-served communities where, Valdez said, people need it the most. He grew up in a rural area and understands the challenges.

"There are people coming from as far as Dos Palos to my program and I was a little concerned," he said. "What if something happens to them on the way over here?"

The learning is hands-on. It ranges from music to broadcasting events and their very own newscast. Certain children can even learn how to operate drones.

"We are also going to put them through their certification process, so the kids will be able to get their part 107 pilot license," said Valdez.

Adults can also benefit. Some of the classes they will take on the road are basic computer and ESL. It is all part of their mission of educating the community and uniting families.

"In order for the kids to be part of the program, the parents have to be in it as well," he said.

The next step is writing inspirational quotes on the inside walls and a mural on the outside. The mobile unit hits the road on January 1.
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