Children's Empowerment, Inc. (CEI)

Organization Information:

Organization Name:
Children's Empowerment, Inc.
City & State:
Organization Website:
Organization's Mission Statement

The mission of Children's Empowerment, Inc. is to empower all students, regardless of income level or ethnicity, to succeed in secondary education and continue on to higher education.

Submission Information

Impact Essay

Children’s Empowerment, Inc. (CEI) targets students in Daly City, California public schools who want to achieve but face formidable economic, cultural, and linguistic barriers. Jefferson High School is a large school of 1200 students, a majority of them immigrants. Hispanics/Latinos (44%) and Filipinos (36%) are the largest cultural groups, but Jefferson’s students come from more than 32 different countries. The students in Pollicita Middle School and Benjamin Franklin Middle Schools, are also heavily minority and low income. Seventy-five percent of Daly City’s pre-teenage children have two working parents, typically working more than one job each for low wages. As a result, many low-income parents of Daly City students are unable to help their children perform academically. With inadequate parental support and adverse economic and environmental factors (including gang activity), children continue from middle school into high school with discouragingly low levels of mathematics, language arts, and reading proficiency.



CEI was incorporated as a non-profit in 1999 and developed our first program in January 2000 to assist 12 at-risk high school seniors who were not scheduled to graduate on-time. We provided tutoring, mentoring, guidance and assistance to catch up on credits needed to graduate and by the end of the school year all students were able to graduate, with the majority even going on to local community colleges. Based upon the success of this program, we expanded the program to a full year and took on more students. We were aided by several dedicated teachers, a cooperative school administration and funding from several local foundations. We operated this program for high school seniors for the next several years and although we were successful it became clear there was a never-ending supply of underperforming students as was evident in fact the school maintained a low performance index status with the annual State of California Performance testing.



It became our mission to improve these trends for the high school and we modified our programs to assist students at younger ages. We began a School Within A School program for Sophomores, then Freshman with smaller class sizes, team teachers and in-school and after-school assistance with tutoring, incentives and class outings. Again we were supported by the school and local foundation funding. This program eventually became the model for a State funded Smaller Learning Communities program that will transfer the entire high school into smaller class sizes by 2009-10 school year. In addition to assisting younger high school students, we developed programs for students in the two middle schools that feed students into the high school. We provide after-school tutoring, mentoring and physical fitness program to 6th, 7th and 8th graders. We use AP and Honors students from the high school as Tutors and Mentors to the middle school students, as well as a number of college students who have participated in our programs and graduated and have come back to their community to assist.



We have been in operation for nearly ten years and started with just a single Windows PC. As our office grew, we acquired additional computers and quickly discovered TechSoup and all the services they provide to non-profits. We were able to acquire multiple seat licenses to run Microsoft Windows XP, Microsoft Office 2003 and Microsoft Small Business Server 2003. This allowed us to setup our accounting, contact database, emailing and scheduling all in-house. We even had software to use on the 5 laptops we purchased and placed in the high school’s after-school tutoring program.



As our programs increased in scope and numbers, it was necessary to find additional sources of funding. We have been very fortunate to receive grant awards from the U.S. Department of Education in Physical Fitness Programs and Mentoring and in cooperation with the school district, State of California Smaller Learning Communities and 21st Century ASSETs funding. Our programs now touch over 800 students at the high school and over 100 students at the middle schools. But with increase size comes the need to improve record keeping, statistics and evaluation data.


In 2007, we approached the Jefferson Union High School District and requested that an attendance database software be developed that would help keep student attendance and provide administrative reporting capability. The District’s IT Dept. developed an Access database for the school’s network. The new software met our criteria but when it came to real world requirements it was difficult to modify. When changes to the software had to be made, it took weeks to get accomplished. If we used one of our personal computers to access the database the schools network denied the attempt. We also had multiple locations needing to input data, some off-site to the school’s network. We also collaborated with other non-profits needing to input their program data.


We quickly realized that there had to be a better, more encompassing method for managing our program activity. In June 2008, we began designing and implementing our own in-house attendance software built onto Microsoft’s Small Business Server obtained from TechSoup. The new platform was developed as an dynamic web-based application built on a SQL database. The terminal server and remote access features, allows our programs to be accessible at any time of the day providing the availability needed for success and a increase in range of clients served by our programs on a daily basis.


Our programs serve the high school and two middle schools. Through the use of our software we are able to keep accurate records at all three locations. When the attendance software was launched in August 2008, it served eight programs. We are now keeping records on thirteen programs. One of the many services we are providing is the capability for teachers and administrators to check student participation in our after-school tutoring programs. Parents can request their child’s attendance record. One of the best tools provided is the daily count feature. Instead of fighting through traffic trying to visit the different sites or putting in twelve hour days to view all programs, we just navigate to our webpage, log into the administrator back office and check the daily participation of all programs on one screen.


After one year of working with the software and modifying it as we go, we now have a stable and secure technological infrastructure to provide the record keeping and evaluation data to maintain funding requirements. Future plans include expanding the existing infrastructure in order to continue to increase our effectiveness and since our software was designed to be modular, the incorporation of new technologies should be minimal. All this would not be possible with the tools available from Microsoft and the ability to obtain them from Techsoup.

Submission Category
Optimize Mission Delivery
Project Image
CEI_NLOGO copy.gif
Supporting Work Files