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We-C: Innovative Program for At-Risk Youth in San Jose, CA

Rarely do homeless and at-risk youth have the opportunity and access to use different forms of art to express themselves. Cisco has partnered with the Bill Wilson Center, ZERO1 (01SJ) and artist Dorit Cypis to create an innovative program called “We-C” to illustrate the power of the Human Network to connect a part of the community that is often left behind. These adolescents and young adults – some of them homeless – will be invited to express themselves through art which will be captured on video and displayed throughout the 01SJ Digital Art Festival using Cisco DMS technology.01SJ is a biennial festival of “art on the edge” taking place in San Jose, CA this June 4-8 showcasing multimedia exhibits, films, live performances and new cinema from artists around the world.In this video, Cisco’s manager of corporate community relations, Sandra Wheatley Smerdon describes 01SJ, We-C and why Cisco is involved.

“It has been a very moving experience for me to watch these teenagers and young adults open up their hearts and minds to art. My hope is that they will continue their appreciation and enthusiasm for art throughout their lives,” Dorit Cypis (professional artist leading the We-C workshops).

“Most of the youth and young adults at Bill Wilson Center have never had the opportunity to participate in or be exposed to art and culture. The We-C program is not only an opportunity for them to find a way to express themselves through art, but also broaden their view of people and the world,” Sparky Harlan, Executive Director & CEO, Bill Wilson Center.

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  1. I think We-C program is really good chance for such persons to express their feelings about art. However, I am sure many of such homeless or at risk individuals are talented or gifted with born arts that they never get a chance to explore or find out.

  2. Thank goodness for the WE-C program. I am certain that this program has changed many lives for the better. Great going!

  3. We-C is more than just a training program, it is an inspiration towards life. I have seen a lot of guys improving their life with Cisco. Kudos on your effort.

  4. Sounds like a great program. I was wondering if there are any We-C programs in New York?

  5. We-C is really great, I am happy to hear that the program is working out so well. I hope other people can adopt the same values.

  6. We-C has been changing a lot of lives. I personally know a few people who have benefited from this program and used the expertise and knowledge gained to take their lives to the next level. Its not only tech gibberish that they are taught, they are also taught to dream bigger. Kudos to the program.

  7. I think the WE-c program is fantastic. Programs like this have made a great impact in my life. It gives people hope, and just lets people connect with others who are different - it helps people see the prospects in life. I'm very proud of this program.

  8. Interesting forum on the future of CSR.

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  10. The We-C program has definitely changed my life. I am now more open to art; I've also made connections, and people want to hire me now.