YES! Community Technology Center

Organization Information:

Organization Name:
SOCK Youth Center
City & State:
Organization's Mission Statement

"Helping kids believe in themselves, helping the community believe in them." We strive to connect with the services here in Mason County to provide resources to children and their families that will enhance their lives and encourage their wellbeing.

Submission Information

Impact Essay

Since our Community Technology Center opened it’s doors in Nov., 2008 we have served close to a 1000 people, young & old offering free access to the internet. This has enabled people to enjoy connectivity, educational avenues & employment avenues otherwise denied to them. Our users have included over 470 youth & over 410 adults. We had senior citizens visit us from the local convalescence centers & have an ongoing Hispanic Parenting class that meets 4 days a wk. We have partnered with the local library, Mason County Literacy, Building Bridges, Readiness to Learn & the Shelton School District. Besides providing internet access we have one on one instruction and on line tutorials in basic computing available in English & Spanish. We have a digital recording studio available for personal and school projects & a multi media room in the process of being built.

Our YES!(Youth Empowerment Strategies) Transitions Program for Juvenile detainees has benefited greatly from the use of our C. T. C. The youth can catch up on school credit, access on line schools and classes, study for & receive their GED, keep in touch with their family, friends support network, write resumes, locate & apply for work.

Adults & homeless in our area have been able to locate services available to them, open an email account to allow prospective employers to contact them, get in touch with family and friends for support and enjoy the benefits of our donation based café, a self serve café attached to the community center with basic lunch ingredients & beverages available to all center users. Some of our client’s stories follow;

M.P., a 15 yr old Native American raised on Reservations, had been in & out of detention for 5 years. His parents had drug & alcohol related problems. One parent passed away, the other is incarcerated as well as some of his older brothers. M.P. currently resides with his Grandparents.

I first learned of M.P. while attending Juvenile Court. He was sentenced to more detention time for probation violations. I introduced myself to his Grandparents, described our program & offered our services & contact information.

While attending Juvenile Detention School on Monday mornings and I made it a point to talk with the students so they know who I am and what our YES! program had to offer. Weeks went by with no sign from M.P. that he had any inclination to turn his life around. His only interests were music and Native Culture. I continued to maintain a low key relationship with him at the detention center and was in court for all of his subsequent court dates.

When M.P.s release date came near he approached me with questions about the YES Computer center and the YES! Transitions program. After his release he showed up at the center after school. He voluntarily approached us about a transitions plan. He stated he was determined to stay out of detention. We set up a date to meet with his Grandparents & drew up a transitions contract with him that included his music & technology teachers & involved M.P. 3 days a week after school in music & recording related skills development.

When M.P.s next court date arrived the prosecuting attorney and probation officer were set to recommend 45 more days of detention. Armed with the transitions plan M.P. & his Grandparents explained to the court the changes in attitude M.P. had undergone while at the YES! Computer Center. They offered the transitions plan to the court as evidence that M.P. was proactively pursuing a life style change. I spoke in court about M.P.s voluntary involvement at the YES! Center & his role in drafting his transitions plan.

The Commissioner read the document, smiling approvingly. After the prosecuting attorney & probation officer read it as well, the Commissioner reduced his sentence to 5 days to be served during spring break stating that this kind of proactive planning should be applauded & further incarceration would be counterproductive.

G.V. was in and out of the juvenile justice system since Jr. High. Raised by his father, a single parent, G.V. had very little supervision or parenting. He experimented with drugs & alcohol & suspended from school for violent behavior. Determined to stay out of detention, G.V. came to the SOCK Youth Center. He was mentored by our staff & volunteers. Inspired by their confidence in him he enrolled in a skills center program to get his GED & take cooking classes.

When our C. T. C. opened he was one of our first clients. He had enrolled at a local junior college to take Culinary Arts & visited the C. T. C. daily. He was couch surfing at the time & needed clothing assistance, food & transportation. We were able to find him a change of clothes, some bus fare assistance & kept him fed at our donation based self serve café adjacent to our Tech Center.

Although homeless, G.V. graduated from his culinary arts program with a scholarship to a Cordon Bleu cooking school in France. His college instructor has offered to sponsor him in his endeavors. He’ll be leaving for Europe in the fall & continues to frequent the C.T.C. seeking the advice & counsel of our staff. He volunteers at times in our café.

R. W. was now homeless after being unemployed for almost 3 years. He had taken the free computer literacy classes available at Mason County Literacy but their limited resources & high rate of turnover prevented him from gaining all the skills he needed to successfully find, apply for & get a job.

R.W. came into our C. T. C. daily. He developed a resume, conducted daily job searches & applied for work in four states. He was mentored in job interview skills & continued to upgrade his computer skills. Although the economic climate has been rough, after 4 months of daily effort R.W. was rewarded with a job in California. Through our resources here at the C. T. C. and the YES! Program we were able to provide him with a change of clothes suitable for work & a bus ticket to the city where he was employed.

E. M., an adult woman with health & mental health issues, was homeless & unemployed. Living on the streets, we connected her with the local shelter & local services (free showers, laundry vouchers and free meal programs). Her hygiene improved & we put her in touch with the local free clinic so they could address her health & contraceptive issues. She needed a dryer, warmer climate for her health & was able to research various cities, their homeless shelters & support networks to determine what her next move would be. She applied for educational assistance at a variety of on line institutions & was able to find a school to help her improve her employment opportunities. She stayed in Shelton, utilizing our C. T.C. daily and dining at our adjacent donation based self serve café for 3 months until she found the resources & support she needed.

Our C.T.C. has proved to be a valuable asset to our community, filling a niche & providing services to all demographics.







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Transformations to Maximize Impact
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