Educate 4 Access

Educate4Access is a non-profit organization that serves as a resource for at-risk children, single parents and their children through family programs. We are eliminating the latch key child epidemic in our community by providing a safe haven for children of single parents, which is essential and prevalent today. Many take care of themselves after school and during the summer months when school is not in session, often without proper nutrition or supervision. We are creating a community where students get the tools needed to attain and sustain a promising career and a chance to succeed. As families struggle to meet unforeseen financial, emotional and social demands, we want our programs to improve the quality of life for families in our community.

In the United States, more than 80.6 percent of single parents are mothers. Among them, 45 percent are divorced or separated, 1.7 percent are widowed, while 34 percent never have been married, according to Census Bureau statistics from 2013.

Despite negative assumptions that most single moms “selfishly” chose to raise their kids solo, the majority of individuals raising children alone started out in committed relationships and never expected to be single parents.

About 14 percent of children age 12 and younger are latchkey kids, but they spend only about an hour home alone after school, a new study says that the average time for a child to be unsupervised was 47 minutes for children ages 5 to 7 and an hour and 15 minutes for children ages 11 and 12.

The Founder

Debra Lindsey Fortner, formerly Vice President of Paralegals Plus, Inc., Dallas Division and owner of Millennium Training & Consulting and Hire Assets, Inc., founded Educate4Access in February 2011.  Having been in the legal industry since 1978, Ms. Fortner trained and consulted with Fortune 500 large law firms throughout the United States and Mexico City, law office business solutions and human resource management.  In so doing, Ms. Fortner has served many nationally recognized law firms.

Ms. Fortner holds a Master of Science degree in Human Resource Management and Training from Amberton University and a Bachelor of Science degree from Arkansas Baptist College.  She has earned Advanced Certification in Health Care Management and Advanced Certification in Leadership from Dallas Baptist University where she is currently a candidate for a doctorate program in Leadership.

Ms. Fortner decided to leave the corporate legal environment after 20 plus years and follow the vision directed by God to be a resource for at risk children, single parents and their children through providing family programs.  The nonprofit will offer a safe haven, educational assistance, skills enrichment and healthy nutrition for children in summer camps and after school programs. Ms. Fortner has over 20 years of experience developing custom curriculums and proprietary software courses, as well as instructing attorneys and their staff, and consulting and directing youth groups. Her desire now is to give back to the community by “Preparing Tomorrow’s Leaders Today”.

Many children spend up to 35 hours a week in school-age care. It is imperative that the quality of these Educate4Access programs developed can have an enormous impact on their education and development.   It is important for their experiences to be positive and beneficial. Ms. Fortner has and continues to design after school and family programs that promote positive development.

Board Members

Philip Andrews

Philip Andrews

Board Member

Mr. Phil Andrews was one of the country’s first robotic engineers, well before computers were invented. He is currently the Managing Director of Biz Smarter, a business consulting firm focused on Smart Cities and Smart Factories. He previously worked for other consulting firms, including Deloitte and Booz Allen, and was the COO of EDS’ Consulting Division. His client list (among many) includes General Motors, Caterpillar, LTV, 3M, Sprint, HP, and MCI.

Mr. Andrews’ background includes senior positions with EDS, Case Corporation, and General Electric. He has also worked for IBM, Deere, and Ford. He holds BSIE and MBA degrees, and has several certifications and diplomas from professional organizations.

He has served on the Board of Directors of several non-profits and businesses, and he is currently involved as a senior mentor for the three Innovation Centers. He has co-authored 4 business books (the latest one is called Holistic Innovation), has taught robotics at Florida Tech, and he is invited to speak as a guest lecturer at SMU, UTD and other schools. His main topics are Sustainability, Smart Factories, Smart Cities and The Sparks of Innovation.

Alvin A. Wright

Alvin A. Wright

Board Member

Alvin Andre Wright formerly director of marketing and inpatient services for Country Villa the largest provider of skilled nursing and respite care services in the greater Los Angeles area. Mr. Wright’s career path prior to the above mentioned profession, psychiatry where he served for twenty years in the capacity of inpatient and outpatient care, treatment planning, psychiatric assessments and hospital administration.

Mr. Wright’s passions and outside commitments serving on the trustee board of one of the largest church’s here in the Desoto area. Serving as a mentor with the boys and girls club, campaign director for candidate Dr. Delaney Smith for the 8th district city council seat, member of the board of directors for the Culver City., California lancers youth football program and structuring corporate entities from inception to corporate lines of credit through new market plans of development.

Mr. Wright’s educational background includes an undergraduate degree in theology from Southern Bible Institute, paralegal studies West Los Angeles College, Psychology major Los Angeles City College, graduate of the National College of Appraisal and Property Management. Certificates achieved, event planning and contracting, Mountain View College, television and studio production Dallas iMedia network and audio engineering Sound Masters Institute Los Angeles California.