Compton YAL’s technology center received 10 new computers in October, thanks to the generosity of 20-year Sheriff’s Department volunteer Ingrid Nugent. Currently serving at Carson Station, Nugent originally approached SYF Executive Director A.J. Rotella with a donation of $1,000 for the foundation. When Rotella mentioned that Compton YAL’s computer lab needed equipment, Nugent asked how much it would take to fully fund the project, then wrote additional checks to provide the total amount — more than tripling her initial gift.
“I have an IRA I have to draw money out of, but I don’t need anything,” explains the active 87-yearold. “My car is paid for, my house is paid for; I could take a trip, but then in a couple of weeks it would be over. Here is something tangible that will last and make a lot of people happy.”
Born in Germany and forced to flee her home as a teenager during the chaos of World War II, Nugent eventually emigrated to America on her own, built a career at IBM, and became a dedicated community volunteer after retiring. “I know what it’s like not to have anything, and I was grateful for everything I was given,” she reflects. “And now, if I can help someone else, I want to do that.”
Nugent has always had a special interest in helping young people, including working as a nanny and volunteering with LASD’s Loving Arms, temporarily caring for children taken into protective custody. She believes that good manners and behavior learned in childhood will carry into adulthood, and that YAL centers provide valuable mentorship. She decided to give to the SYF because she was confident her gift would be used wisely: “I know the money is going directly to the kids and making a difference.”
Nugent’s support fulfills an urgent need for Compton YAL. The technology center was equipped with four computers four years ago, but age and frequent use took their toll. For the past two years only two computers have been working, and for the four months before the donation, the 200 youth enrolled at the center had to make do with a single functioning computer.
“With the new computers, we can help the kids with their homework, and more importantly get them ready for college,” says Deputy Rosalina Munoz, adding that staff member Salvador Castro will be on hand to teach the basics of Microsoft Word and PowerPoint. “We are extremely grateful for these donations to our technology center. We know that they will be utilized and appreciated by our students.”
Nugent, whose contributions are honored with a plaque in the newly enhanced lab, jokes that the youth already “probably know a lot more about computers than I do!” But she understands how important the technology is for those who may not have access to it at home. “I want the kids to be able to go there, see all their friends and communicate with them, and do their work,” she says. “When kids get together, they learn from each other.”