Christmas songs, food, gifts and the celebration of Jesus’ birth brought more than 380 people to the G.O. Community Development Corporation Friday afternoon.John Salters started the annual Christmas party at 3703 Station Ave. 21 years ago with his late wife, Mae.”My wife would be smiling in heaven,” he said. Salters said his son Isaiah led the children in music and games on the gymnasium stage.”This is awesome. It is much more than I ever thought it would be,” Salters said.Isaiah Salters got the crowd into the music and urged the children to put toothpaste on their noses and pass cotton balls to each other in a “relay” race on stage in front of their families and friends. The results were mixed based on the participants’ ratio of toothpaste to cotton balls.Tables lined the gym floor as people munched on food and sang along with Christmas carols. ”It is a beautiful thing to get the kids out of the house and have a nice Christmas,” said Megan Stuper of Ashtabula.Amber Miner said she has been coming to the event since it started. ”I love it,” she said.More than 200 children attended the party, said Drew Thomas, president of the G.O. Community Development Corporation’s board of directors. ”Everybody gets a couple of presents,” Thomas said, adding a local donation made it possible for 33 children to receive bicycles. ”We will have some happy children,” he said before the lucky winners were selected. ”We had a great response as far as donations.”He said the organization, which offers food, clothing and household items to those in need, feeds 45 to 75 people Monday through Friday at the headquarters on Station Avenue. While the organization has some money in the bank, there are a lot of needs. ”Our electric bill was $2,200 last month,” he said.Thomas said there were large donations of $8,000, $5,000 and $3,000, but the money is needed to continue feeding area residents and the operation of programs such as the center’s recreation center and computer lab.He said anyone interested in making a donation can send checks for G.O. CDC to P.O. Box 1173. Thomas said he can also be reached at 216-780-3845.Story by Warren Dillaway
For the past four years, University of Akron Junior Olajuwan Smith has took it upon himself to educate others about a topic that is changing the world that we live in, computers! Smith who is a junior at the University of Akron currently majoring in Computer Engineering says, “I’ve had an awesome time these past four years teaching a handful of students about this machine called a computer.” Smith who received the CDC Community Leader of the Year in 2015 has several distinct classes that he offers at a local community center G.O Community Development Corporation.Those courses are:· Computer Basics 21 C· Computer Intermediate 21 C· Computer Advanced 21 C· Introduction to Microsoft Office· Intermediate Algebra· Introduction to C++“I plan to teach at the G.O. for at least five years, so I’ve been thinking about next year being my last year as I would not have any time.” Smith said.Smith currently teaches these classes in the summer when he is away from school because his schedule is usually free. But this summer his schedule was not free, but he still found some time to squeeze in teaching these classes.“I started my first co-op assignment at the beginning of the summer at Kent Displays Inc. in Kent, it is a great place to work and I was grateful for the opportunity. I also am taking two summer classes , so you can say I am quite busy.”Like most of Smith’s classes they usually start of high in number and are likely to decrease in class size.“Prior to the first day of class, we had a total of 16 students enrolled, as of today there are only 9 students enrolled. I usually don’t know why some people don’t come back. But to the people that stay they can attest to the fact that they leave knowing just a bit more than they already knew about a computer, if they indeed knew something.” Smith said.Smith is also in the process of setting up online classes for two of the courses he offers.“There are some courses that I would like to set up as online classes, so that way I can teach during the Fall and Spring, giving the community of Ashtabula a way to participate in these classes year-round and not just the summer.” Smith said.I would like to introduce you to my current students:Sandra Pitorak“Sandra came in to this class being recommended by Judy Coleman. Sandra has a very bubbly personality and always seems excited. I think one of her milestones was achieving a A on the midterm exam although she hadn’t even been in the class as long as the other students. Sandra believes in herself and for that she continues to succeed in this course.”Judy Coleman“Judy has been a student in another course that I offered. She is one of the students that grasps concepts very fast and she is very outgoing student. I am very thankful for the fact that if she finishes assignments earlier than her peers she will go around and help them.”Cella Jackson“When I first met Cella, I thought she was going to be one of the students who would leave the class, after going over my syllabus. But was I wrong Cella did a complete 360 and she is learning what she came to this class for. Cella also takes the time to help out her peers, and boy is she funny. It was also interesting finding out that Cella is the mother of a former teacher of mine.”Scott Lally“Scott came to the class with ambition and a drive to succeed. We have the following set up for each class, we have the lecture and then the computer activities, homework and quizzes are done outside the classroom. I can’t recall one lecture that Scott has not said things like, ‘That’s cool’ or ‘I didn’t even know you could do that‘ It’s people like Scott who give me a joy in teaching as he comes each week from a nursing home.”Edna Laferty“There are sometimes I feel like Edna should be the one in the front of the class teaching. I don’t believe there is any assignment that she did bad on. She is a fast learner as well and applies the concepts and techniques we use in class, outside the classroom on the computer. I am thankful for the opportunity given to me to be her instructor.”Lenora Boysaw“Lenora is such a sweet heart. She reminds me of Loretta Devine. She doesn’t have her voice, but they are both very sweet women. Lenora comes to this class with a desire to learn just like everyone else. I am honored to be her instructor.”Glenna Alleman“Glenna has a job that requires her to know about the computer, so I am glad that she has taken my class and I hope I can teach her all the things she needs to know. One thing about Glenna is that she is very organized (not saying her peers are not), but I mean she is really organized. I think that is the reason why she is doing great this far in class.”Sarah Cooper“Sarah is definitely the class clown. She is hilarous! Sarah has been trying to enroll in a computer class offered here for quite some time and has finally been able to enroll this summer. I do know Sarah, as her daughter is my God Mother and I was named from a relative of her, Olajuwon Cooper at Lakeside High School. But more importantly I am glad that Sarah decided to join this class and I hope that I can teach her about computers.”Sandy Coleman“Last but not least is Sandy, or as a normally call her Aunt Sandy. Yes she is my Aunt! During my years here at G.O. I have had many family members come and join the class and each of them never came to the class thinking that there just going to pass because their relative is the teacher, they all came to the class and worked to pass this class. (Aunt) Sandy is doing the same she is learning. I am making sure that she learns to be prepared for another exam she takes that is completely separate from my class. This test is to be done on a computer, hence that fact that she is enrolled in this course.”Smith has noted that although his career is on the path to an engineer, he certainly considers becoming a teacher or maybe a professor down the line.Smith also talked about one of the main reasons that he decided to take this teaching gig 4 years ago was for his late brother who passed away in a car crash.“My brother Darrin is always my inspiration; it is him who gets me through my days good or bad. Everything I do is for him; just have to make my brother proud.”Smith also mentioned that he wants to start a memorial scholarship in honor of his brother.Smith left us with this:“Don’t wait too long. You might miss your chance. You might miss your chance to learn something new, something being a machine known to us as a computer. ”
ASHTABULA — Building your child’s self-esteem is a main component of bullying prevention, said Julie Wood, outreach coordinator at Homesafe.“With good self-esteem, children are not only more confident, but they are able to identify their strengths and weaknesses,” she said.On Thursday afternoon, Homesafe hosted Kids Rock 2016, an event aimed at limiting the effects of bullying by empowering youth through a special day to promote self-esteem, self-worth and self-confidence. The event, for ages 12 to 18, took place at G.O. Community Development Corporation on Station Avenue. Several volunteers from local agencies, such as the Ashtabula’s Health Department and teachers from various schools in Ashtabula County, helped with activities for the children.“We are trying to build self-confidence,” Wood said.Homesafe’s child advocate, Sarah Chapman, signed in the children and gave them a new “Kids Rock 2016” T-shirt.Ashtabula residents Jen Guyton, 23, Amanda Lasko, 29, and Raimonda Garjonyte, 34, all from Kent State University Ashtabula’s occupational therapy assistant program, volunteered their time to help out. Kani Williams, 10, of Ashtabula, said he was the first arrival. He went straight to the gym to shoot some basketball and his brother, Darien Williams, 12, soon joined him.“We love to play basketball,” Kani said.Kids Rock at G.O. offered a basketball shooting competition and ring toss games, as well as the choice of painting a self-portrait or planting a vegetable to take home. Grace Martial Arts from Conneaut showed attendees a few moves for self-defense.In the late afternoon, they spent an hour volunteering at theG.O. Soup Kitchen and then visited the Samaritan House, to “understand the difficulties of the homeless,” Wood said.“We hope they gain self-esteem through helping,” she said.The second Kids Rock event is 9 a.m. to noon June 10 at Giddings Memorial Park, South Market Street, Jefferson, where children will have the choice of different activities, including first aid basics, water safety, fire house and emergency food preparation, along with some community service at the Senior Nutrition Center.Call Homesafe at (440) 992-2727 to save a spot at the Jefferson event.
We at G.O. Community Development Corporation want to reach out and congratulate Devon & Octavia Yates on their huge success with Yates Plates. Octavia is the Gemstone Director at G.O. CDC. We have always admired what she does for the community. Now they are going to bring some good soul food to the Area.
Please check them out 901 Bunker Hill Road Ashtabula, OH 44004.
Visit their Facebook @YatesPlatesAshtabula.
Check their menu out below: