October, 2018
Welcome to Cristina Connections

Honoring our Partners in the Cristina Network


Technology has shown that it has the potential to positively revolutionize the lives of people with disabilities and those in need. We launched the National Cristina Foundation in 1984 because of that belief.

National Cristina Foundation's partners join the Cristina Network because they share in this core principle. Though they vary in size and missions, these remarkable organizations all work in their own way to bridge the gaps created by the Digital Divide. We have linked them together through partnerships to strengthen the impact of our collective abilities to empower people’s lives. Digital inclusion for all so that NO ONE will be left behind will require:

  • Access to free or low cost quality computers
  • Access to free or affordable training in the use of these computers
  • Access to affordable broadband for connecting to the Internet

Each month Cristina Connections is proud to showcase our partners’ stories. Even as I have now reduced my hours at the Foundation after more than 35 years, I continue to marvel at the work that you have committed yourselves so deeply to in support of the populations you serve. The impact of that service is enormous for thousands of people across the United States.

This newsletter is a small way to say thank you for allowing us to share what that work is making possible for people who would otherwise be left behind.

With appreciation,

Yvette Marrin
President and Co-founder

She had given up hope of ever working again. She had adult children and wanted to turn her life around. Her dream was to get back into the workforce and to make a life for herself. She lived in Washington DC and was one of its citizens that lived in a low income community where people needed jobs. Was there a place that could reach out to her with a helping hand? As she said about herself “I’m not a kid any more.”

 Byte Backs founders, aware of the poverty in the many communities in Washington DC, determined to help adults in that city who wanted to turn their lives around. They thought about the world of work that would open up to all of us as we approached the 21st century. They realized that computer technology would play a key role in creating access to careers that would be available to people who were trained to use the emerging technologies.

Byte Back launched their first training class in 1997 at the local Gospel Rescue Mission in the city and, as they say at Byte Back, built out from there. As an organization that has grown to make a high impact on their community connecting people's needs to opportunities, they are growing rapidly. This is due to funding support by corporations such as Citi Corporation, federal and state agencies, and assistance from volunteers from organizations such as Avodah Service Corp whose members have been teaching hundreds of students in Byte Back classes.
What happens at Byte Back? They have designed options for their clients who as adults have been unemployed or underemployed. Courses are available to Washington DC residents and to people in Prince George’s County, Maryland where they now have extended their programs through the launching of the Education Partnership for IT Careers (EPIC). with the Prince George's County Economic Development Corporation. People now follow career pathways that enable them to select from a variety of courses that start with computer basics, acquiring office track skills, or advanced skills as certified IT technicians.

Grants that Byte Back has applied for and support received through alliances with corporations, foundations and individuals have made it possible to offer their coursework at no cost to most of the participants and to create new access to training and employment opportunities. This nonprofit organization has won awards and positive recognition for successfully achieving digital inclusion and creating successful career paths for hundreds of people each year.
 From their first days at the Gospel Rescue Mission, Byte Back continues to address the challenge of providing computer training in as many different locations across Washington DC. as possible. They believe that associations with homeless shelters and public libraries (some examples of locations they partner with) are important but it is valuable to create many different ways to reach people. Some very creative solutions are under development.
I asked Elizabeth Lindsey, Byte Backs Executive Director, what does all this mean for herself and her staff? “We are an organization that is passionate about what we do,“ she noted. “People who have not had opportunities in their life now can start in a different place. They now get the opportunity to do so.”

 Byte Back continues to work on its growth plan.

Each issue of Cristina Connections will highlight our partners in the Cristina Network. You make it possible for people in need to overcome the barriers of the Digital Divide.  In honor of your important work, we dedicate this newsletter to YOU.  
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