Learning Center Opens Doors in Rural ECV

Sep. 21, 2013 / By

Youth try out the new laptops at the grand opening of the San Jose Community Learning Center. Photo: JOHNNY FLORES JR/Coachella Uninc

Youth try out the new laptops at the grand opening of the San Jose Community Learning Center. Photo: JOHNNY FLORES JR/Coachella Uninc

JOHNNY FLORES JR/Coachella Uninc

THERMAL — After six years and $600,000 in contributions, the San Jose Community Learning Center has finally opened its doors in rural Eastern Coachella Valley.

Its mission: to provide a learning space for adults and youth living in the 41 surrounding mobile home parks.

“In the rural areas there aren’t any places for the students and families to meet or help each other out,” said Sister Gabi Williams, the driving force behind the project. “There aren’t any study places within the mobile homes. This is an opportunity for young people to have a place to do their homework.”

Funding for the center, located at 69455 Pierce Street, came primarily from fundraising events such as luncheons and golf tournaments.

The sizeable contributions allowed for the creation of two adjacent spaces. The Bea Main Learning Center, a space for middle and high school students, is fully equipped with laptops and desks for youth to complete assignments. In addition, coordinators will work hand in hand with nearby Desert Mirage High School (DMHS) and other local schools to help keep students on task and offer appropriate assistance with schoolwork.

The Ross Jarrett Community Center will offer health, safety, parenting and language arts classes for adults. Adult classes will begin next month.

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Coachella Unincorporated

Coachella Unincorporated is a Youth Media Startup in the East Coachella Valley, funded by the Building Healthy Communities Initiative of The California Endowment and operated by New America Media in San Francisco. The purpose of the project is to report on issues in the community that can bring about change. Coachella Unincorporated refers to the region youth journalists cover but also to the unincorporated communities of the Eastern Valley with the idea to “incorporate” the East Valley into the mainstream Coachella Valley mindset.