I recently sat down with John Smith, the President and CEO of Neighbors Empowering Youth, and discovered a person whose heart is set squarely upon improving our community.
Smith works for FEMA, which is a national governmental organization that helps people in cases of national emergencies and catastrophes. So whether in his mainline or sideline, this man is in the business of helping people.
N.E.Y. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) service organization established to provide computers and computer training to the underserved youth of Altadena and Pasadena. Although their emphasis is usually upon the youth and young adults, Smith discussed the possibility of using their facility to teach a number of computer literacy classes for various age groups.
Even though I live about a mile from this business and drive by it almost daily, I knew very little about them prior to my meeting with Smith. This in essence is a good example of our .
It is not that we lack great resources in Altadena, but more the lack of getting the knowledge about them to the people that wants and need them.
During my first visit to the facility, a CERT training class was being held there that evening with about 30 students. This class recently graduated as their first CERT Training class through this facility.
The site is very suitable for large training classes. They have an overhead projector and multiple computer stations with both PC and Mac computers. In addition, they already teach classes on how to repair computers, build robotics and basic MS Office training. Their classes are offered in both English and Spanish.
How could such an organization sit right under our noses and only a few people know about them? It’s the same way that so many of our resources around here are relatively obscure.
Through the Parks and Recreation Department--along with the Altadena Public Library and the Senior Center--there are numerous free classes on a variety of subjects that would greatly enhance our community. But only a few people know about them, so only a few attend these classes. It is almost like having a million dollars in the bank and not know that you have it.
In a similar manner, many locals do not shop at our local businesses because they are not aware of what they offer. Somehow we must make an intentional afford to support our local merchants and businesses if they are to survive.
The first order of business is to make sure you are aware that they exist. That was the initial concern of my community unity initiative I recently wrote about.
N.E.Y. has the potential to become a key catalyst in educating people who need to be educated in computer technology. They could also serve as a place where community members may go if they do not have access to computers.
Smith’s dream is to use this facility as a community resource for accessing the communication highways. In addition he desires to create more community unity in Altadena.
Although this is a nonprofit organization, perhaps we could circle the wagons around such a business, which intern could become a catalyst to bridge Altadenans closer as a community. NEY wants to make a difference for life, not just for a temporary fix.
This organization is not only about “Neighbors Empowering Youths,” but also about neighbors empowering our community. They are attempting to provide opportunities for people who are especially vulnerable to the effects of poverty, crime, gang involvement, unemployment, or those who are at academic risk.
Currently N.E.Y. is seeking recipients for their In Home Computer Initiative, which allows students to receive at no cost a computer multimedia system, training materials and membership.
In order to qualify for the program the recipients must meet the following criteria:
- 1.) They must be from a low-income situation.
- 2.) They must be in school and have a desire to improve themselves, and
- 3.) Their primary caregiver must be willing to attend an eight-hour computer-training program with them.
Please contact John Smith or his staff at the facility during business hours for more details about the In Home Computer Initiative or to see if you and your child qualify. (626) 791-2095
What a great community organization. And they are located right here on the west side where we could certainly use a lot of empowerment for the people.
If you have a business or project that you feel would greatly enhance our community please feel free to contact us here at the Patch or the Blog so we might shine a spotlight on what you are doing as well.