Learning Disabilities Support Center opens computer room

Councilwoman Annabel Palma (far right), who funded Glebe Avenue Senior Center's new computer room, inaugurated the room on Wednesday, November 18 with Glebe Avenue and Learning Disabilities Support Center staff. Photo by Robert Benimoff

For the first time in its five-year history, Learning Disabilities Support Center of New York (LDSCNY) has found a permanent home: a new computer room at the Glebe Avenue Senior Center.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Wednesday, November 18 for the computer room housed at 2125 Glebe Avenue. Juan Cervantes and his wife Cathy founded LDSCNY to help the learning disabled through computer training, motivation and healthy living.

At the senior center computer room, LDSCNY will offer computer training programs for those with learning disabilities. In addition, seniors will hone their keyboard, e-mail and web-surfing skills. Councilwoman Annabel Palma provided funding to make the computer room a reality.

“The initial thought here was to find the organization a home,” Palma said. “The goal is to bring people up to speed with technology – whether they are children, seniors or the learning disabled. I think that we are now in a great position to help everyone achieve their dreams.”

Palma said that she was impressed by the Cervantes, who founded started LDSCNY from scratch in the basement of St. Peter’s Church in Westchester Square.

“I have always been impressed with Juan and Cathy Cervantes, who are committed to [LDSCNY] and who I think with perseverance will be able to take it citywide,” Palma said. “I just hope that I can help them realize their dreams.”

From small gatherings of those facing learning challenges, the organization has expanded to offer several different programs. These include motivational talks called “Keys to Success,” where elected officials, business people and others share their own personal stories to inspire LDSCNY participants. Another program encourages those with learning disabilities to eat healthy and is aptly titled “Healthy Living.” It focuses on having the learning disabled stay away from foods that can make them lose concentration or focus and on replacing those foods with alternatives that aid in improving cognitive function. There are also the computer classes, which should provide job training.

“It has been our dream [for our participants] to have a computer room of their own,” Juan Cervantes told November 18 attendees. “Thank you for believing in our mission.”

One senior who finds the new computer room useful is Juanita Merritt, an 85-year old who comes to Glebe Senior Center from Throggs Neck to get up to speed with technology.

“I have taken two classes already, and I love it,” Merritt said. “My children love it because they all have computers and when I am with my 5-year old granddaughter we can be on the computer together.”

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