Becoming an Empowered Business Owner and Web Developer/Designer
SERA, Inc. is a flagship nonprofit organization whose mission is to facilitate community capacity building in its most authentic sense. The organization’s goals are accomplished via focus on specific areas that would enhance one’s quality of life: economic development, holistic personal and professional sustainability, and individual citizen and collaborative empowerment. We also focus on exchanging information and building enduring relationships with business and community partners.
Our primary work is to provide people with real life skills on negotiating life’s most complicated challenges and learning how to build confidence and acuity through the knowledge gained. We provide advocacy, education, outreach, collaborative opportunities, training, and resources to individuals and businesses primarily within the Southeast Raleigh community, while also serving the greater Raleigh area. Our focus areas include advocating for and supporting, through specific programming, homeownership and quality/affordable housing opportunities, advocating for enhanced transportation systems, normalizing states of health and wellbeing within communities through a variety of initiatives, business & equity, youth and leadership development, entrepreneurialism, mentorship opportunities, job and economic development.
“As I see it”, says Rita Anita Linger, President/CEO, “our main work is to heal the communities we serve and to restore a sense of pride, hope, belief in self and in the process transform the image of how those we serve see themselves and their abilities. It is this transformation that is needed to be successful and accomplish significant life goals. For as it has been said, without a dream, the people perish. Collaboration with other for profit and non profit businesses is key to our work.”
Ms. Linger stated that SERA, Inc. “designed and started the Youth Entreprenaurial Technology Institute, better known as YETI in 2010, with the goal of responding to young people who felt that they were excited by technology and the idea of owning their own business while helping themselves and others, and who believed they were creative. They noted that they had limited access to advanced technology equipment, instruction or mentoring. I felt we needed to do something to address these particular youth concerns, as there is significant hidden talent in many of our Southeast Raleigh and greater Raleigh area youth. We recognized early on that if some of their needs around technology access and personal development were not addressed, their potential would atrophy and die.”
Together with a skilled and renowned Technology Entrepreneur, SERA Inc.’s President/CEO and the support of the Director of the Raleigh Business & Technology Center, the initial YETI program has been refined, is facilitated in a state of the art environment and has graduated over 50 young people in the short time span since the Institute has been in existence. The Institute’s student-body consists of youth with a propensity toward technology between the ages of 13-19, who are required to put in a total of 40 hours of rigorous learning and competency demonstration including homework assignments over a period of 3 Saturdays. The recruitment and selection process for the Institute is no cake walk” states Ms. Linger, “in addition to answering pointed questions about what each young person envisions him or herself doing in the future, SERA, Inc. staff need to hear potential candidates of the program authentically articulate why they want to attend the Institute and how, at the conclusion of the class they will use their skills they acquire.
Each young person who is eligible for the program and is selected to attend is provided a full Institute scholarship by SERA, Inc. Youth are taught Web Development/Design, HTLM and other markup Languages, Entrepreneurial Business Development Skills, Customer Service Skills, Conflict Resolution & Communication Skills and Leadership Identification and Implementation. The youth who attend the Institute are required to demonstrate competency in all areas of training before they are able to graduate. “There is a significant amount of interaction between the students and instructors as well as experiential work that takes place”, says Ms. Linger. Successful graduates receive a desktop and two years of technical support and guidance through SERA, Inc. staff and affiliates as they move forward to further development their expertise and their business plans.
This high level Institute works to create leaders and those young people interested in starting their own business, generating revenue and serving within their own environments by giving of their newly gained skills to those in need within their own communities. Several of the graduates of our December 2012 class have already launched their business websites and are helping family and community members who need assistance navigating the web, and designing web pages. By the time the students leave the Institute, they have a customized template by which to design their own website, and possess the skills both hard and soft to begin to make their dreams a reality.
The graduates of 2012 Institute will be honored at a formal graduation and will pledge to become an active part of SERA, Inc.’s Youth Ambassador Program (a program of community service, leadership development, and social justice advocacy under which the YETI program sits) via a pinning ceremony on January 16, 2012 during the graduation at the Johnson Center at Martin Street Baptist Church, 1001 East Martin Street from 5:30pm – 7:00pm. There will be a Petite Graduation Dinner, as well as a Graduation and Pinning Ceremony to follow. Raleigh City Councilman Eugene Weeks will be the keynote speaker and Bob Robinson, Director of the Raleigh Business & Technology Center will be the Moderator of the event. Come join us to honor our new Entrepreneurs!