An East Oakland nonprofit launched by late activist David E. Glover was awarded a $100,000 grant from Verizon to continue youth and adult technology classes for low-income residents.
Glover, originally from St. Louis, Missouri, began working for the Citizens Committee for Urban Renewal (OCCUR), a nonprofit organization focused on creating opportunities for marginalized communities, after a short stay at the Bay Area Urban League. Glover climbed the ranks of the organization, becoming executive director, and in 1997, he launched Eastmont Computing Center, as a space to teach basic computer literacy skills. In his honor, the center was renamed to the David E. Glover Emerging Technology Center (DEGETC) after his 2013 passing.
The former executive director of the center, Sondra Alexander, who served the organization for 40 years until her retirement in December, and was responsible for the renaming of the organization, said she couldn’t be more excited for the organization. “This grant will enable OCCUR to continue their great work. OCCUR was a force that helped the community and trained many Oakland residents.”
In the 70s, Alexander began working for OCCUR as an assistant to Executive Director of OCCUR, Paul Cobb, and eventually assumed his position. According to Alexander, OCCUR was supported by the City of Oakland’s Community Development Block Grant Fund, the State of California and corporations from “Clorox to Kaiser.”
“We had a lot of support, and Paul and David were quite a team. They were ahead of their time,” said Alexander who worked on 50 projects throughout her tenure. “Paul and David would go down fighting until the end, working for them was more than I imagined. We got a lot done for Oakland residents.”
Olivia Cueva, Director of DEGETC, and OCCUR started her media career as a journalist with Youth Radio and found her spark for applied technology opportunities while participating in the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU, where she created a pressure-sensitive mat that sent her family text messages when her 93-year-old grandfather stood up.
“I knew I didn’t want to work in the big tech industry,” Cueva said, “I came on as a creative consultant to help them strengthen the programs, expand their programming, get more students in there, and also rebrand and redesign.”
Cueva credits the center’s success to the support of her staff, including Jorge Flores, office manager and Spanish-language Computer Basics Instructor who has been with the center since it opened and was hired by Glover himself.
A new project, Future Founders, led by Camila Ramos, focuses on supporting entrepreneurship by training young students to make money with their skills. In partnership with Met West High School, and through the support of Glover’s son, (insert son’s name here,)the center negotiated a three-month paid contract with the Oakland A’s Technology Team, where students designed virtual prototypes for possible youth fan engagements.
Oakland student, Hesten Parrish, only 11-years-old when he attended his first Hack-a-thon at the center, created an app to stimulate teacher-student communication, received seed funding by age 14, and spoke at Google’s 2020 Black History Month event. He’s only 15.
The grant money will be used to support afterschool programs that teach graphic design, 3-D printing, coding, and augmented reality.