In New York City, it’s estimated that more than 250,000 K-12 students1 don’t have digital basics at home, including access to the internet, computers or skills needed to benefit from the online world, an issue known as the digital divide.
Organizations like 914 United, Inc. and the Youth Shelter Program of Westchester are working to change those numbers, in collaboration with AT&T.
On Wednesday, October 11, 100 refurbished laptops were given to Westchester students and families working with 914 United and Youth Shelter, as part of AT&T’s nationwide commitment to help bridge the digital divide. AT&T and the organization Human-I-T to provide the laptops and digital literacy resources to help these students fully participate in our digital world. The donation event took place at the Yonkers Art Space in Yonkers, NY.
New York Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Senator Jamaal T. Bailey (D), 36th District, and State Assemblyman Steve Otis all attended the event.
“Today marks a significant step in our commitment to bridge the digital divide in Westchester County. AT&T’s generous donation of 100 refurbished laptops to students and families, in partnership with Human-I-T, 914 United, and the Youth Shelter Program of Westchester, represents our collective dedication to ensuring that every member of our community has the tools and resources to thrive in the digital age,” said New York Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “This initiative is a testament to the positive change that can occur when we come together to empower our youth and provide them with the opportunities they need to unlock their full potential.”
The Youth Shelter Program of Westchester is a not-for-profit residential alternative to incarceration for young men 16-21. Since 1975, the Shelter has provided a structured environment designed to foster growth and rehabilitate court-involved youth from the Westchester communities.
914United, Inc. is a program-based mentoring 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization working to expose, educate, and empower the youth and the justice-involved within the Lower-Hudson Valley.
“It’s critical that we continue to advance equitable access to technology for all. In an increasingly digital world, technology is not merely a luxury, it’s an essential utility that we rely on for almost every part of daily life,” said Senator Jamaal T. Bailey (D), 36th District. “By bridging the digital divide, we can empower our youth with the tools they need to thrive in the digital age and beyond. I want to thank AT&T, Human-I-T, 914 United and Youth Shelter of Westchester for partnering to close the digital divide and build a future where every young person has the opportunity to reach their full potential, regardless of their background or circumstances. Their collective efforts are instrumental in making technology more affordable and accessible, ensuring no one is left behind.”
The device donation efforts are part of the AT&T Connected Learning® initiative to help address the digital divide through internet accessibility, affordability and safe adoption. Since 2008 AT&T has committed to programs that help millions of students across all 50 states, Washington D.C and around the world, particularly those in underserved communities.
“The inequities that make up the digital divide can be corrected through digital inclusion and literacy initiatives such as AT&T’s program announced today,” said State Assemblyman Steve Otis, Chair of the Assembly Science and Technology Committee. “I have worked with digital inclusion program leaders from around the state to promote expanding access to broadband access, devices, and training to bring excluded individuals into the digital world. It is vital that these programs are provided at the local level. Congratulations to AT&T for their many contributions to this work.”
What others are saying:
Robert LeBron, Program Manager of 914United, Inc, said: “914 United is dedicated to ‘exposing, educating, and empowering’ justice-involved youth by providing them with the help they need to succeed. As such, laptops are a vital component in narrowing the digital divide some youth experience in marginalized communities. We are proud to be part of this initiative to help our most vulnerable and forgotten population have the same opportunities others have.”
Jordan Cormier, Director of Programming at Youth Shelter Program of Westchester, said: “Empowering our youth with laptops is not just about leveling the playing field; it’s about providing them with the tools to bridge the digital equity divide, ensuring that every young mind has an equal opportunity to explore, learn, and succeed.”
Gabe Middleton, CEO, Human-I-T, said: “At Human-I-T, we believe access to technology is a right, not a privilege. Together with AT&T, 914 United and Youth Shelter of Westchester, we are not just delivering new computers, but we’re catalyzing social justice, environmental responsibility, and positive change. Together, we’re creating a world where everyone can access opportunities to unlock their full potential.
John Emra, Atlantic Region President, AT&T, said: “AT&T is proud to collaborate with organizations like Human-I-T, 914 United and Youth Shelter to help close the digital equity gap in New York. Many students in New York lack the devices needed for digital learning. Access to connectivity is vital in helping to bridge the digital divide and we are glad we can provide these resources to those that need them most.”