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Brooklyn Neighborhood Networks Director
Named New Yorker of the Week

[Photo: Dorothy Jones receiving plaque from William Miecuna of HUD]
HUD Representative, William Miecuna (r.), poses with Dorothy Jones upon HUD's recognition of her achievements.

On February 6, 2004, Ms. Dorothy Jones, Tenants Association President at Elva McZeal Apartments and founder/director of the Elva McZeal Neighborhood Networks computer learning center in Brooklyn, NY was named "New Yorker of the Week" by the local TV News station, "NY1 News." This weekly feature highlights New York City residents that have made significant contributions to their community.

HUD's local Neighborhood Networks Coordinator, Bill Miecuna, nominated Ms. Jones for this honor. In January, Bill was invited to speak at the 20th commencement ceremony held for students of the center. At the graduation, HUD presented Ms. Jones with a plaque from the HUD Director of Neighborhood Networks, Ms. Delores A. Pruden, which recognized the achievements of Ms. Jones and the ongoing success of the center.

The Elva McZeal center, the first HUD Neighborhood Network in the New York jurisdiction, was opened in 1996. The center serves the residents of Elva McZeal Apartments, a 142 unit tenant-owned Section 8 family development with 428 residents. The center also serves the residents of the East New York community in Brooklyn. Ninety-nine percent of the development's residents are African-American and eighty-five percent have female-headed households. The center was established and is currently operating with funds from a "Special Rent Adjustment" approved by HUD.

The center has 15 computers and a network server. Recently, five of these computers that were originally purchased in 1996 were replaced with funds from a "Weed and Seed" grant prepared and submitted by Ms. Jones. The center has offered 16-week classes in basic computer skills, the Windows operating system and Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Classes are offered in the morning, afternoon and evening with 12 to 15 students per class. The two highly qualified teachers prepare their own curriculum and class assignments. Students are encouraged to work with each other and act as mentors. The classes are free and each student receives a hard earned certificate at the graduation.

Ms. Jones ensures that the center continues its mission of providing life-long learning skills to the residents of the community and remains involved in every aspect of the Center's operation. She also stays in touch with graduates, documents their successes and invites them to speak at graduations "to testify", as she says, that acquiring computer skills leads to success in the workplace and self-sufficiency. To date, more than 350 students have graduated from the Elva McZeal Neighborhood Networks center.

Content Archived: March 07, 2011

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