photo caption: CFK Instructor Gerald Brown, YATF Chairperson Thelma Jones, and SWNA President Kael Anderson. In front (L to R) graduates Miracle Matthews and Giannii Marshall (absent from photo is graduate Dynaja Roach).

On June 8, three special young ladies became the most recent graduates of the 2014 Computer-for-Kids (CFK) program. Created in 2007, the CFK program is sponsored by the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly’s Youth Activities Task Force, which, to date, has graduated more than 85 youth ages  six to 13. Fittingly, the ceremony was held at the Syphax Gardens Resident Council computer lab. The theme of the graduation was “The Role of Computers in Achieving My Educational Goals,” which spoke to the importance of technology use at all levels of educational attainments. A joyous time was had by all in attendance, which numbered about forty, and included family members, friends of the graduates, and civic leaders. Alysha Berry, an Amidon Elementary School alum and recent honor graduate of Riverdale Baptist High School, served as the mistress of ceremonies. The guest speaker was Bettina Brown, an incoming freshman at Catholic University who plans to major in architecture. As a little girl, Brown would often accompany her parents, CFK instructors Gerald Brown and LaShawn Williams, to class.

Also in attendance was Thelma D. Jones, Chairperson, SWNA Youth Activities Task Force, who announced that each graduate would receive a refurbished laptop compliments of the SWNA Technology Task Force. Jones also surprised guest speaker Brown by presenting her with a newly-refurbished laptop for college use. Also present was Kael Anderson, President of SWNA, who addressed the students by congratulating them on their success and expressing the importance of this program. Instructor Gerald Brown, along with SWNA President Kael Anderson, presented the students with their certificates while recognizing their dedication and commitment to the training and praising the parents for their unwavering support.

The graduates in attendance were Gianni Marshall, ten, and Miracle Matthews, seven, who smiled bashfully as they were given standing ovations after receiving their certificates of completion. The ovation was especially poignant given the fact that the class began with 13 students and ended with three finishing the training. Such perseverance is a testament to the time and dedication demonstrated by the family and friends of these exceptional young ladies who ensured that their students achieved their goal. The laptops awarded to the graduates will be used in their homes not only to enhance their computer knowledge, but also to disseminate that knowledge to family members.

As the theme of the graduation states, the role of computers in achieving one’s educational goals is significant to the majority of career aspirations. Learning how to operate a computer and utilize software applications can help the user in many fields of work and play. The CFK program is not only helping to reduce the digital divide in the community, but it also exemplifies the ongoing efforts of the Youth Activities Tasks Force to support programs and activities that help young people in its service area to reach their goals and expose them to all that the world has to offer. Special thanks to Syphax Garden Resident Council for the use of their facility and the Thelma D. Jones Breast Cancer Fund for the goodie bags awarded to the platform guests, graduates and their parents and grandparents.

By: Dena Walker

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