Technicity Times
    Issue 2• February 2003


Happy Birthday to Y.O.U.

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 technology.

"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.

Marc Atwood is a clubhouse mentor.