‘It Takes a Village’ – Free Laptops for North Minneapolis Kids and Families

Cheryl Riley – President, AT&T Northern Plains States
February 8, 2024
Broadband Access and Affordability

‘It Takes a Village’ – Free Laptops for North Minneapolis Kids and Families


For 6th grader Cameron Stewart and many of his classmates in North Minneapolis, they’ve never had their own laptop or device at home.

In fact, most in their neighborhood don’t have digital basics at home, including a computer, needed to benefit from the online world – an issue known as the digital divide.

To help bridge that divide, AT&T recently teamed up with Human-I-T to provide 500 free laptops for families and students served by Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ) and the Urban League Twin Cities.

“It brings tears to my eyes really to think about how excited the families and the scholars are to be able to have this opportunity,” said Ann Johnson, Vice President of Education for NAZ. “So many of our scholars just don’t have the benefit of a laptop in their home that is theirs.”

NAZ partners with five North Minneapolis schools to improve the educational experience for low-income children of color to help them graduate high school and succeed in college, career, and life. Cameron Stewart is one of those students who participates in NAZ’s after-school programming to receive extra support in reading and math.

Now Cameron and nearly 250 of his peers have their own laptops at home to support their academic careers beyond the opportunities provided by NAZ.

When we connect someone to the internet, we’re connecting them to greater possibilities in their life. Those greater possibilities will also now be available to 250 families served by the Urban League Twin Cities. For many, having their own device at home is simply a luxury they cannot afford.

With their new laptops, these families will now be connected to the digital world and its benefits – from searching for and obtaining jobs, receiving telehealth, completing homework, and connecting with resources in the community.

“This is a moment of history for many of these families,” said Eric Howell, Assistant Director at the Urban League Twin Cities. “It takes a village of corporations and agencies to come together and really raise a community.”

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