November, 2018
Welcome to Cristina Connections

Honoring our Partners in the Cristina Network

May you have a wonderful and meaningful Thanksgiving
filled with a harvest of blessings.
“I firmly believe art saves lives,” says William Acevedo the founder and CEO at YUCA Arts , a nonprofit community arts and design program that was created in 2006. Art can give a purpose and meaning to lives when you help young people to develop their artistic gifts. I have seen through our work the significant impact art has made on young people’s lives. It’s a win for everyone.”

Who is eligible to come to this program? “There is only one prerequisite,” says William Acevedo, “that they are students from underserved neighborhoods who want to be here. We try to tap into their innate curiosity. All young people have a creative spark. We are there to nurture the talent. We never make promises but believe that it can be a win for everyone whether they come from the Bronx HS of Visual Arts, are simply curious about the program, or a parent calls to say that they like to draw. " Our role is to plant the seeds of creativity.” 
Technology that is fully integrated into the program has helped YUCA Arts to enhance how they teach graphic design and screen printing . Computers and design software are integral to developing student’s designs and ideas. Mr. Acevedo commented on the importance of computer donations from the National Cristina Foundation . These donations have helped them to implement programs. “You are part of what has allowed us to exist,” he noted. Parent volunteers, adult mentors and experienced degreed artists inform program development. Students are taught techniques used by designers using various graphic and illustration designs.

Their partnership, through a project to create a mural with the Climate Museum in New York City, was a highlight of the museum’s recent campaign. “When you add community engagement and, that young people now had a greater investment in being part of something that is bigger, that certainly affirmed for YUCA Arts students (Mr. Acevedo proudly states) that art binds us all together.”

The seeds of creativity produce beautiful blooms!
Did you know that in 2017 18.7% of persons with a disability in the United States were employed compared to 65.7% without a disability? You might think, “well there are many kinds of disabilities that make it hard for people to find gainful employment.“ 

Triangle is a nonprofit organization that is showing that individuals with developmental disabilities given the right kind of training can learn to lead more independent and dignified lives. Triangle’s programs and services focus on innovative opportunities that are helping the world recognize that we are all people with ability. Their vision: everyone can be an active and participating member of the workforce.

Through the concept of supported employment where a job coach is available to support work experience in the community, individuals with developmental disabilities are able to perform a wide variety of tasks. People are able to achieve their goals for living in the community instead of living as a segregated population. Given this opportunity to work in jobs that include data entry, retail, janitorial work, warehouse support, food preparation and more, this year alone, the numbers of individuals who have been trained by employment specialists and job coaches is increasing every year. In 2018, Triangle placed 400 individuals in jobs.

Computers play a key role in both helping Triangle achieve its administrative tasks on behalf of its clients as well as providing essential skills training to individuals. Jared O’Brien who is Triangle’s head of IT operations noted that before they began working with the National Cristina Foundation, people were giving them donations of technology that proved useless to them.
Jared describes his frustration at getting equipment that was too old or broken. We talked about why the National Cristina Foundation's donation management system produced successful donations for Triangle. It made it easy for donors to describe what they were donating, and for Triangle to assure that the equipment that was offered was the right match for its posted needs. He added, "It is my honor to interact with individuals who are donating equipment. Because I will drive anywhere to pick up the equipment we receive, I have a chance to personalize the donation experience. Meeting the donors is great for both of us. We are truly a team with NCF,” noted Jared.
Is your organization preparing for #GivingTuesday? If you are planning to ask people and companies in your community to donate technology to your organization, remember to log in to the Cristina Network and update your equipment needs in your project profile.
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