“Job Corps has been a godsend for us. Without them, we couldn’t afford to fix our computers,” advised Barrio Station, San Diego founding member and Executive Director, Rachael Ortiz.
“Eight years ago we partnered with the Urban League of San Diego County to build a computer program lab here,” advised Job Corps computer instructor, Peter Schurek. “The lab has continually expanded and our students maintain and “trouble shoot” on a regular basis. We’ve donated thousands of hours to Barrio Station and several hundred Job Corps students have worked here while completing their Career Technical Training trade at Job Corps. It’s good hands-on training for them and affords them an opportunity to give back to the community.” Mr. Schurek’s dedication to Barrio Station resulted in his receiving the prestigious Outstanding Service Provider Award at their 2008 Annual Benefit Dinner.
“We started as a store front 40 years ago and have become a safe haven and recreation center for youth and a community resource for parents pursuing social justice,” Ms. Ortiz stated. “We’ve grown dramatically and 2,400 young people from Logan Heights and the neighboring communities currently use our facility.”
“Our young people love the computer lab,” Ortiz continued. “They come from low-income families and many don’t have computers at home, so they do their home work here. We’re also able to offer computer scholarships and tuition for students pursuing higher education.”
Ms. Ortiz has a long history of community activism. In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s she worked with Cesar E. Chavez in the United Farm Workers movement. “Cesar was a wonderful man,” she stated. “He was kind, humble, and passionate about helping others and we remained close friends until he died in 1993. Barrio Station is a testament to his inspiring so many of us to overcome obstacles and transform peoples’ lives.”