There are some amazing clever kids in Tacoma, Washington. Yeah, you’re right – there are great kids everywhere. But that’s part of what makes the Tacoma youth so amazing…and today there is more. These young people are techie survivors on their way to being thrivers. Right now, they’re in the process of surviving the loss of Luversa Sullivan, the inspiring leader of the Intel Computer Clubhouse’s Clever Program.
Over ten years ago, Luversa and her Seattle students wired Yesler Community Center’s RecTech computer learning center. Luversa started the lab, bringing over computers twice a week from her Delridge center. The Yesler lab is still going strong, helping hundreds of families every year thanks to the dedication of Asfaha Lemlem and other staff there.
I was at Luversa’s funeral Sunday to celebrate her life and the many clever kids she nourished through technology learning programs in video, photography, music production and robotics. The kids led the way for much of the memorial service. I witnessed the courage, dedication, mutual support and multimedia skills of the current Clever Kids and older youth that she mentored and prodded and laughed with. Luversa’s life and her death are inspirations. We adults must stay the course, we can’t accept obstacles as barriers, and we mustn’t waste our precious time as we work to make technology learning programs available to more clever kids and support these kids to be successful. In Tacoma today, I saw Luversa’s graduates who have gone on to work at Microsoft, go to college, cut their first cd’s, or join the health care industry. Our next generation of robotic designers, employees and community leaders are already right here…if we continue to provide the love, the money, the tools, the mentoring , the freedom to create, and the vision of success that sparks them to pursue their dreams and talents. As Luversa always taught me with her smile and deep words, our digital inclusion, community technology, and STEM programs are so much more than a keyboard and a class. Thanks Luversa, and thanks Clever Kids for teaching us.
The Clever Kids Computer Clubhouse Facebook site has tributes and there’s an article on her life in the Tacoma News Tribune and the Seattle Medium. Donations for the Luversa Sullivan Scholarship Fund can be made to “Clever Innovations”, P.O. Box 8546, Tacoma, Washington 98419.