Southeast CAC Discusses Beneficial Community Programs

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Editor’s note – this article has been updated to correct the address of PAVE Charter School’s Raleigh location.

Three separate programs designed to improve the lives of Raleigh residents were presented at the Southeast CAC meeting last Thursday, where attendees learned about the city’s digital inclusion project, a new charter school and a mental health program for children.

Brittney Cofield-Poole, a member of the city’s IT staff and a Ph.D. candidate at NC State University, explained that the digital inclusion project aims to promote “economic growth across the city through workforce training and Internet access.”

Raleigh's Digital Connectors program offers intensive computer training to  people aged 14-21

Raleigh\’s Digital Connectors program offers intensive computer training to people aged 14-21

In 2009, Cofield-Poole said, the city received $1.4 million in federal funding, which was used to provide broadband access to 1,482 households in underserved areas and kick off the Digital Connectors youth program.

The program promotes computer literacy and requires 60 hours of community service hours from its students, who are provided with a laptop and $500 upon completion.

Within the next few months, a citywide tech survey will be distributed to randomly selected Raleigh residents, which Cofield-Poole said will help “identify areas with limited tech access.”

“The goal is to get an idea of what tech access looks like within communities in city of Raleigh,” she said.

The next program CAC residents learned about is more limited in scope, but the services it provides are likely seen as essential by the families who receive them.

SecurePath is a comprehensive mental health service for young children in Wake County operated by the nonprofit Lucy Daniels Center.

Clarenda Stanley-Anderson, Director of Development for the center, said the SecurePath program offers a way for children with developmental and behavioral problems to learn to adapt to normal social and learning environments.

The program currently works with 65 families in Southeast Raleigh, and is offered on a sliding scale depending on a family’s income and insurance situations.

One of the key strengths of SecurePath, she said, was its emphasis on behavioral therapy, as opposed to prescription medication.

“Drugs are great — there’s nothing wrong with drugs,” said Dr. Donald Rosenblitt, the center’s director.

In most cases, Rosenblitt said, medication is often used as a way of addressing the symptoms of a problem, and not the problem itself.

“Essentially, you’re just kicking the can down the road,” he said.

The final presentation focused on PAVE, a new charter school that will open in the fall of 2015 in a leased space at 2801 S. Wilmington Street.

PAVE Charter School's Brooklyn location

PAVE Charter School\’s Brooklyn location

Cakey James, who told the crowd her first name is pronounced “khaki, like the pants,” is the director of operations for the new school. She said the school will eventually offer free, K-8 education to Raleigh students, although in its initial years will only offer K-1.

James said this was part of the school’s effort to “build a strong culture — this way students and families will grow with us each year.

“The founding families are the building blocks for the direction school will take.”

James said the school will provide each student with “free breakfast and lunch, transportation and one free uniform shirt.”

This is because PAVE wants to ensure that “any student who wants to come can; there should be no financial barriers to keep them from getting a good education.”

Students will be selected through a lottery system, the drawing for which will be held the evening of March 9. An information session that will include free barbecue is scheduled for 6 p.m. on January 29 at the Ship of Zion Church.

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