Another kind of Cathedral

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We will be competent in the use of new technologies to effectively further the aims of the Gospel.


Cathedral City
ENVOY DAVID MANRIQUEZ assists students in the computer lab at Cathedral City Corps.

by Brian Pickering –

Have you ever heard the saying “a mind is a terrible thing to waste”? Envoy David Manriquez of the Cathedral City Corps has, and he’s doing something about it. A FREE community learning lab, complete with classes in computers, English as a second language, and remedial reading and math, is now available for children and adults in the desert area.

“I have a philosophy that if we continue to feed people week after week and do nothing else, then we’re doing nothing to help them. If nobody gives them a chance to be self-sufficient, then nothing will ever change,” Manriquez said. “Hopefully, this learning lab will give children and adults alike a chance to perform better in school and the work force, respectively.”

Open since October 1999, the learning lab does not have a budget from which to draw. It began, and continues to operate, from the support of the community. Donations of needed materials and volunteers enabled 35 students (mostly children) to participate in various classes during the first semester. In fact, The Salvation Army recently graduated 18 young people from the beginning computer class, 15 of whom are now in the intermediate class.

This semester, 57 individuals are enrolled, more than half adults. Ages have ranged from 7-71. Although still in the infancy stage, the learning lab is already sending out positive results. A grandmother who is raising six grandchildren, four of whom are enrolled in the lab, recently reported to Manriquez that she has seen improvements in their reading and math grades.

“We have volunteers who are very interested in the success of the students. In regard to the young people, we provide adult supervision in an environment that is both educational and fun. Success at an early age equates to success in later life,” said Manriquez.

Manriquez was recently approached by a distraught 71-year-old widow who was left with virtually nothing when her husband passed away six years ago. Crying, she stated that her job was changing to computers and that she was going to lose her job unless she became computer literate. She is now in the beginning computer class and dreaming of a brighter tomorrow.

Manriquez envisions adding five new classes. They include a cultural enrichment program, music program, writing, photography, and aerobics for seniors.

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