1. Impacting the education for Eatonville students for the past 15 years, P.E.C. has provided the only place in Eatonville where all children and families have access to computers and individualized instruction in their usage. The E-WE Lab is a resource whose importance to the community has become increasingly obvious as so much of America’s everyday life has become computerized.
Currently the E-WE Lab serves two groups: elementary school students as an after-school academic support system, providing homework assistance and life skills training; and an adult population which conducts job searches; upgrades skills to improve earnings capacity and has access to social services.
Another way P.E.C. will impact education for Eatonville students is by developing the ZORA! STEMinitiative. We have begun this initiative with a two-pronged approach: Our organization’s approach – The ZORA! STEM Initiative will involve a 2-pronged strategy: (1) to begin working with Eatonville children at an early age (2-3years) and (2) to engage their families in the process so as to provide them with an environment where learning is cherished and celebrated. Our approach has the added value of incorporation a culturally-rich layer (vig., ZORA!”), to the study of the natural sciences and math. The success of this strategy will be indicated by children who enjoy learning about STEM subjects in elementary /middle /high school, and upon graduation, will either attend college/university or pursue workforce careers, where their earning-power will be magnified because of the proficiency in STEM-related fields. Though our organization has not secured the required funding to implement this long-term objective, we have taken some steps to advance the initiative.
2.Another challenge facing the historic Eatonville community, and one with long-term historic consequences, it’s how to develop two parcels of land, originally donated to Orange County Public Schools (OCPS)in the 1950s “for the education of Negro children” by Eatonville residents. Though the land was donated to OCPS, Eatonville will have to purchase the land if it wants it back.P.E.C. believes that it is imperative that the Town regain ownership in order that the community be able to control its economic future.
In terms of health disparities, P.E.C. has the ability to impact positively this condition in Eatonville with the Yards and Gardens Club, a program that began in 2010 and which continues to “grow” because of its members’ commitment. This group of 10+ faithful represents a collective gardening experience of over 500 years.
These are “organic gardeners,” their method of gardening based on the way they were “brought up.” For example, they use cow manure and rabbit excrement and they compost. In other words, “fancy terms” being used in today’s lexicon of “green” are what these folks have been doing-“naturally” for decades. The goal of the Yards and Gardens Club is to develop a Farmers’ Market Co-op, with the ability to sell crops grown in Eatonville as well as crafts created by Eatonville Residents in a seasonal market setting. We are projecting a “soft start” for the 2018 season.