Oct 14, 2022
Councilwoman Jasmin Santana joined leaders from Cleveland Public Library, Verizon, and JumpStart for the opening of the second Verizon Community Learning Center, located in CPL’s Fulton Branch. The Verizon Community Learning Centers are being opened in four cities across America, with the two centers here in Cleveland being the first to open nationally. The launch here provides Cleveland with the opportunity to demonstrate what learning could look like nationwide, primarily in the areas of STEM education, professional development, small business growth and development, and digital literacy.
JumpStart CEO Ray Leach described the Verizon Community Learning Center as a tool to “unlock the full potential of entrepreneurship for transforming our entire city.”
CPL Director Felton Thomas thanked representatives from JumpStart and Verizon for their investment and partnership with the Library. Director Thomas also shared that 40% of library visits - nearly 1 million annually - are focused on entrepreneurship and employment. He told the story of a gentleman who lost his job during the pandemic and used CPL’s resources to find a new job and continue providing for his family.
Stories like these are why the Verizon Community Learning Center at the Fulton branch are so important.
Councilwoman Santana praised CPL for their investment in the Clark-Fulton neighborhood and informed the audience that she once worked for CPL as a teenager. She noted that CPL’s technology has grown by leaps and bounds since the days she worked for the organization. She also shared that the Verizon Community Learning Center contains what many young people shared they wanted to see in libraries and schools to make themselves successful: fun, entrepreneurship, and learning.
Verizon representatives informed the nearly 100 people in attendance that they recently opened seven learning labs in CMSD schools, in addition to the opening of the Community Learning Centers at CPL.
Friday’s grand opening of the Community Learning Centers featured a performance from Dee Jay Doc, founder and executive director of Refresh Collective. For twelve years, Refresh Collective has helped thousands of Cleveland youth express their voice through their own songs. The non-profit has studios in schools, hospitals, and now the Verizon Refresh studios at the Fulton Branch. During his performance, Dee Jay Doc shared a lyric championing our 2022 AL Central Champion Cleveland Guardians. He rapped, “Cleveland builds bridges like a Guardian, welcoming neighbors like Mr. Rogers with a cardigan.”
Two of the young people involved with Refresh Collective blessed the crowd with some of their lyricism. One of those performers was Dennis Ducsay, a 2022 MC2STEM graduate better known as Sinned The Grim Rapper.
Visit one of the two learning centers at the Fulton Branch of CPL at 3545 Fulton Road or at the Earle B. Turner Rec Center at 11300 Miles Avenue.