The Los Angeles County Probation Department’s Campus Kilpatrick has recently begun a program to help youth learn the basics of electronics. DPO Deborah Sims initiated the Electronics Club to help youth gain the tools needed to begin careers in the many fields of electronics and fiber optics.
The program began when former Campus Kilpatrick Director Katheryn Beigh looked for ways to bring human interaction to the youth. “Deputy Sims approached management and explained how she held an Electronics Program at Challenger Memorial Youth Center and taught us how it works,” said Director Beigh. Once she saw the results, she shared her excitement with others.
“I started the program in 2018 at Camp Onizuka and McNair at Challenger Memorial Youth Center,” said Deputy Sims, known as “Mama Sims,” to youth in the club. “I wanted to teach the youth a program where they can be hands-on and to keep their minds engaged in something productive.” Deputy Sims has a master’s degree in engineering.
The Electronics Club meets once a week for two hours. The group learns about the fundamentals of electronics and fiber optics. They also get to work on small projects. Some members have made alarm clocks, spinning wheel gadgets, and sometimes work on circuit boards. Sims says she always looks forward to their projects and seeing the members’ creativity.
The program has also caught the eye of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 11, a major union in Southern California representing 12,000 electrical workers. Recently, Shamar Davis, a representative from IBEW Local #11 and the union’s Electrical Training Institute (ETI), met with five Campus Kilpatrick electronics students in a virtual presentation. He answered questions and presented the opportunities of paid apprenticeships with ETI, the leading training institute for the IBEW union. His enthusiasm for the electronics field’s opportunities was inspiring, and the youth who attended were vocal and engaged throughout the 60-minute presentation. His final inspirational words to the Kilpatrick youth: “The world is yours, man. Take it!”
Current Campus Kilpatrick Director Albert Banuelos sees the Electronics Club as part of the overall mission of Campus Kilpatrick. “We want to equip the youth with a new skill or help them foster a special interest in trades such as electronics in this and the many programs that are a part of our L.A. Model.”