"Many recent immigrants find themselves in similar situations," says Kelvin Martinez, a volunteer with the Alexandria-based nonprofit Computer CORE, where Abdul enrolled in 2001. "There are a number people who—whether they grew up poor or are recent immigrants—lack basic skills that are critical to their success," Martinez says. "Computer CORE offers a community of students and mentors working through those shared challenges."
Computer CORE enrolls many students like Abdul for whom learning a few fundamental skills can make a world of difference. Average students take six months of general computing, English language, and career development classes and receive a free computer. Most importantly, they join a network of volunteers, students, staff and alumni that supports them during and beyond the program. "Computer CORE alumni often help current students land their first jobs," says founder Deb Roepke. "The evidence that our program works exists in the successes of our students and alumni. They are our biggest achievement."
To Abdul, Computer CORE was "a gift" that gave him the tools and confidence he needed to pursue his dream. Today he works as a financial analyst for Congressional Federal Credit Union in Washington, DC. He attributes much of his success to the support he received from Computer CORE. "If you had asked me six or seven years ago if I would be here, I would have said 'no way,' " Abdul says. "Destiny puts the right people in the right place at the right time. For me, that place was Computer CORE."
During the giving season, many area nonprofits like Computer CORE look to the community for support. Small contributions make enormous differences in the lives of many local residents. Currently, Computer CORE needs:
For information, to make a contribution or donation, or to volunteer, contact:
3846 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22302
Computer C.O.R.E. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose program promotes the realization of better opportunities through basic computer skills training. CORE's program is offered to un- and under-employed adults of Northern Virginia who have little or no experience with computers. For more information on Computer Core click here.