Last week, E3 Power Center City assistant manager Lillian Penn (right) delivered a laptop for E3 member Safiyyah M. to her home in North Philly. Safiyyah had been unable to access online E3 classes through her phone and was thankful to receive the computer. “To see her light up like that, it made me feel really good,” said Penn.
The delivery was one of several Penn made that day, and there are still more to go, as staff continues to distribute laptops and internet hotspots provided by JEVS Human Services so E3 members can continue to pursue their education and career development goals as the program continues online.
E3 Power Center City is a program operated by JEVS that provides educational pathways including GED and/or diploma assistance, opportunities to find employment, and life skills training to help out-of-school youth (ages 16-24) in Philadelphia overcome challenges and attain a better future for themselves.
“With this laptop I can focus on getting my diploma so I can provide for my daughter.”
– E3 member Gianna W.
During normal times E3 staff and members meet at E3 Power Center City headquarters on Broad Street in Center City Philadelphia, but these times are anything but normal. Adapting the program to an online approach has kept E3 advisors and instructors busy.
“Realizing we would be operating remotely for a while, we reached out to members to see if they had the technology to participate in online learning. Instructors wanted to set them up with Google classroom, Khan academy and other resources so they can continue to study for their GED and so on,” said Penn.
Technology is just one of the ways E3 staff are helping their members—who like everyone else in these challenging times—are trying to get their basic needs met. Some have been laid off and are still waiting to receive their unemployment compensation. Others are fearful of not being able to pay their rent or utilities.
“It just so happened JEVS received a food donation on the same day we delivered laptops,” said Penn. “So we were able to include a box of fresh fruit and vegetables for our members in the delivery.”
E3 member Gianna W. received a laptop and a box of food at her home in southwest Philly. Gianna was doing well when classes were held in person but fell behind when the program moved online.
A single mother whose baby’s father died of coronavirus, Gianna was extremely grateful for the laptop and food, telling Lillian, “I miss being around you guys and hearing positive feedback. This laptop will make all the difference. Now I can focus on getting my diploma so I can provide for my daughter. And I can really use this food. ”
“That made me tear up a bit,” said Penn.
JEVS laptops awaiting distribution to E3 members in the community. E3 Power Center City currently has 32 active members. Of those, 19 requested laptops.
To receive laptops, members must sign an agreement in which they agree to “use the device to keep up with as much of my school as I can.” The agreement also tells them how to take care of it and what to do if they have trouble with it.
The laptops are connected to the JEVS IT department so members can email IT with issues and get a response. Hotspots, which provide internet access paid for by JEVS, are being provided for members who don’t have internet access at home.
The computers and hotspots must be turned back in to E3 within a week of the member being discharged from the program, which means they have to meet all their academic or employment requirements.
Andrea A. was psyched to pick up her laptop at E3 headquarters. “Now I can finally do some work!”
If you or someone you know would like to learn more or apply to E3, contact E3 Power Center City here >