Y.O.U, INC. Computer
Clubhouse's First Year Celebration
By Marc Atwood
On a warm January day in south Los Angeles
the rays of sunlight, penetrating the blue southern California sky,
shone with an intensity that could only be matched by the creativity
and imagination of our youth. On Saturday, January 11, the YOU Computer
Clubhouse, located in south central LA, celebrated its one-year anniversary.
YOU provides a safe place for children and teenagers to grow academically
and personally, as well as discover new talents and interests, through
state-of-the-art computer programs and technologies provided by Intel
Corp. Intel offers some of the most technologically advanced software
and programs to underserved communities. This unique opportunity allows
children to explore new interests and possible career paths that they
might not have otherwise discovered.
The computer clubhouse's software includes programs for web design
and web site construction, movie making, game making, creation of
mountain, volcano, and water scenes and even roller coaster construction.
The clubhouse also has a music room where kids can create and record
their own music. The kids have the opportunity to use the same technology
used by the professionals. "I like making movies on Flash because
you can make music videos, make your own music and learn a lot of
technology", said Jesus Rivera, age 10. "I love Adobe
because I get to express my drawing and people love my drawings"
said Jawanza Harris, age 10. "I like Poser because you can
make people do what you want them to do. In Bryce you can make mountains,
waterfalls, and your own buildings like a city. In Adobe you can
put your face in a picture. You can make a poster if you want to
be elected President", said Mario Hernandez (age 15). They
create landscapes using Bryce 5, the program used to make scenes
in the movie Star Wars.
The children are provided with the positive influence of the staff
and mentors, who through tutoring and academic enrichment, help
to build the confidence and potential of the children. The more
the staff, mentors and parents get involved in the children's lives,
the more the children believe in themselves and gain the potential
to reach their goals.
Through the work of coordinators, Natashka Jones and Omar Hernandez,
the children's lives of south central Los Angeles are enriched every
day. "Natashka sets strict guidelines and rules for the kids
to follow to keep them on the straight and narrow and makes sure
that they stay safe", stated a clubhouse regular. Omar shares
and teaches the fine art of movie, music, and game making as well
as the many other programs offered at the clubhouse. "Omar
helps me on the computers", says David Peregrino. "Everybody
helps me to do my homework." "Miss Rivera (parent and
mentor) is nice and sometimes she offers us food and very, very
good food", said Jawanza Harris.
"What I've learned from them is that, if you put your face
on a picture of whatever you want to be when you grow up and you
study hard, you can be whatever you wish", says Sergio Rivera,
clubhouse member, age eleven. "The people that have helped
me to accomplish that are Marc, Natashka, and Omar".
As the clubhouse celebrated its first year and looked back on its
growth and success, it was further inspired by the visit of DaVE,
the digital tour bus, and its newest computers featuring new ways
to create artwork and design. It included software such as Maya
and Corel (Bryce and Painter 7). The kids got to view a new world
of artistic possibilities as they were exposed to new software design
and drew their own artwork on laptop computers.
"It was cool how you got to see different people's artwork
and it kind of inspired me to broaden my knowledge of art,"
said Mario Peregrino (age 13). "I'm planning on going to visual
arts high school next year and hopefully with what I saw I'll be
able to get something out of it and make an art masterpiece."
Saturday's event was only part of the beginning of YOU's enrichment
of our community's youth. With the devotion of parents and positive
adult role models in our children's lives our children not only
grow technologically and academically, but also gain the self-confidence
to believe in themselves and reach their full potential. The YOU
Computer Clubhouse has been shown to be a place for our kids to
learn, develop and be inspired through the use of Intel's computer
"It helps me to decide what I'm going to be in life",
remarked Javier Vargas (age 14). "I want to be somebody who
makes visual arts on the computer."
"I think the one year anniversary was a great success. I was
so happy to see all the dedicated kids here willing to help. I liked
the digital tour bus", said Omar Hernandez.
Through the efforts of staff and mentors to provide the individual
one-on-one help and encouragement to the youth of our community,
our children have grown and realized more of their own potential.
is a clubhouse mentor.