Berniz Terpstra

July 2016 KSSN Spotlight

For the month of July, we are shining a bright spotlight on Berniz Terpstra, our community school coordinator at Gerald R. Ford Academic Center in the Grand Rapids Public Schools district. As a community school coordinator, Berniz helps to reduce barriers by connecting Ford students and families to resources for basic needs, mental health, and health and human services. She also works extensively with community partners to leverage resources for the school.

Berniz says her favorite part about working at Gerald R. Ford Academic Center is the staff. She says they all work well together, and are 100% committed to leading, learning, and helping their students succeed. She also loves meeting with students and families, and tries to create a safe space for them to work together and improve their well-being.

When asked what she is proudest of, Berniz says it is the fact that she developed the program, This Is My Computer. She had been researching information about the digital divide and saw that adults who lack computer literacy skills today are at an extreme disadvantage. Hoping to create a solution to this problem, she developed the This Is My Computer curriculum, which provides adults with user-friendly instruction on basic computer skills through hands-on learning. She then brought the idea to Comprenew to partner, and through their generosity, This Is My Computer participants are able to purchase their own low-cost computer upon completion of the class. The first class launched at Ford in 2015, and since that time, This Is My Computer is now being offered at numerous locations, giving more adults access to technology and critical computer skills.

When Berniz is not busy as a community school coordinator, you can find her cooking and baking delicious foods. She is also a coffee addict, and says she never starts her day without a huge cup. She also loves hanging out with her pug, Joe (coffee pun not intended), and she says she is super competitive and thrives on competition!

We thank you, Berniz, for all that you do as a community school coordinator. You are seen as an inextricable part of the Ford community, and your passion and resolve are second to none!