Dr. Bemley founded the Joint Education Facilities (JEF) Program, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization in 1982, with minimum equipment in a room in the basement of his home in Washington DC. Using his Computer Science expertise he conducted the program every Saturday, always with little funding. From those humble beginnings, he has built a program with a strong reputation for excellence in mentoring over 700 young people throughout the DC area. He has accomplished much with the JEF program. He has combined his many leadership skills with the courage and willingness to accept challenges and hurdles associated with mentoring inner-city youth. Not only has he been able to introduce these students to the acquisition of computer skills, knowledge, and leading-edge technology, but he has also been successful in expanding their horizons as well. This expansion has frequently included learning to write a technical article, or taking that very first plane ride. It has often been the student’s first opportunity to speak before the public, or the first time to receive an achievement award at a banquet with all the parents and friends looking on.
Dr. Bemley takes pride in preparing his students for making presentations within the local community as well as at conferences and professional meetings. The young men and women are encouraged to participate in student-initiated projects for which they learn to undertake research and complete it in a timely fashion. As a project is in progress, the next step is learning to present it before an audience. JEF prepares its students to enter computer competitions such as: NAACP Afro-Academic, cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO); Computer Learning Foundation Contest; the Goucher College Programming Competition for High School Students ; Computer Learning Foundation Contest; BDPA National High School Computer Competition (HSCC) and Information Technology (IT) Showcase; National Technical Association (NTA) Science Competition for High School Students; the Association of Computer/Information Sciences and Engineering Departments at Minority Institutions (ADMI); TeraGrid Programming Competition and Supercomputer Conference Education Committee Student Programming Competition.
For many of the students, Dr. Bemley represents a surrogate father. He can convince any child over time to accept challenges and strive to do well. All of the young people grow as a result of being trained and coached by him for competition and participation in conferences, nationally and internationally. He has been able to implement peer counseling and teaching techniques that have improved the leadership and team-building skills of his students. Parents and instructors constantly notice considerable growth in self-esteem. Even when it requires great sacrifice, he always rewards his students with an annual banquet and a carefully selected keynote speaker, who can serve as a role model to the assembled students and their parents, relatives, and friends. This rewarding of progress, achievements, and skill acquisitions works well in developing good citizenship.