The Vocational Training and Resource Center (VTRC) continues to benefit from veteran computer instructor Kevin Araki. Starting at an early age, Kevin began building a wealth of knowledge and diversified experience.
Kevin grew up in Garden Grove California, where he was a member of the Children’s Screen Actors Guild making appearances on the Brady Bunch, the Mod Squad, and the Doris Day Show. If you watch carefully you might see a 12-year-old Kevin Araki!
When Kevin graduated, he was his high school’s Valedictorian and the Student Body President. Teachers need to feel comfortable being out front and directing a class; these early experiences gave Kevin insight on what is like to be a leader and coach. Four years later, a double major in Communications and Studio Art, he received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from University of the Pacific. Teachers are self-motivated, and Kevin’s double major is testament to his drive to challenge himself and obtain his goals.
Less than a year after graduating from college Kevin arrived in Juneau. It was 1981 and he was ready to take on the job of News & Public Affairs Director for KTOO-FM. Not truly happy with his new profession Kevin moved onto begin a career in Library Services, honing his computer skills and experience where he raised through the ranks to become the Vice President of Operations, Technical Service Manager for a private business. Still searching he moved on to other sundry jobs until he finally arrived at the doors of Central Council in February of 1996. His interviewers found him excelling on three points: his ability to teach, knowledge of software, and his technical skill to set-up equipment to give a teaching demonstration.
Kevin’s position as the Computer Skills Instructor with the VTRC has given him the opportunity to meld two of his interests teaching and playing with computers. Kevin uses a mixture of traditional lecture/demonstration methods with a Learn Pro style of teaching. This way he is able to cover the different types of learners visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Students can also explore the software at their own pace, this keeps the frustration down when there is a wide gap in the skills of the students. His main teaching emphasis is to meet the students needs and prepare them to help themselves once they have left the classroom. He gives students, the skills to answer questions on software procedures.
Kevin’s first 2 years of training sessions were 2 ½ week intensive programs in many of the Southeast communities. He would teach everything from the very basics of turning on the computer to the more advanced functions of many of the Microsoft programs, and some graphic arts with Corel Draw. This training funded by a grant from the Federal Department of Education and has since ended. However, Kevin is still very interested in continuing this program. The minimum lead-time to set-up a training session in a community, outside of Juneau, is 2 months. Additionally the Computer Skills room is available for rent to other organizations.
Since joining the Central Council, Kevin’s biggest challenges have been maintaining funding for his position, staying current with the latest software updates, and he is always concerned how quickly computers become obsolete. His goals, for the Computer Skills room is to make it the premier computer training room in the state. Currently the room is outfitted with 15 computers for students, fully loaded with the core software, a scanner, adjustable desks and chairs, and recent updates to MS Office and Windows, and a new top of the line projector.
From the Director's Perspective: Kevin has gained a super star reputation as a highly popular and user friendly computer instructor of the VTRC, increasing attendance in his classes and his student's receptivity to technological learning. His acting experience on the TV shows the Brady Bunch, Mod Squad and Doris Day gives him the opportunity to hone his "Sammy Davis Hat Dance" routines on a daily basis just in case Hollywood does call again. In the meantime, his computer class audience and the VTRC staff are very privileged and honored to have him as a teacher and performer. Break A Leg Kevin.