Computer Donation to Challengers Boys & Girls Club
ADE releases Los Angeles Digital Empowerment Council’s findings on the impact of affordable broadband deployment in underserved communities
The Alliance for Digital Equality (ADE), the leading voice for affordable broadband deployment in underserved communities, gathered in Los Angeles today to donate 25 computers to the Challenger Boy & Girls Club, and present key findings by their Los Angeles Digital Empowerment Council about the state of affordable broadband deployment in America. Based on these findings, ADE unveiled recommendations to increase broadband access in the Los Angeles area – broadband access is critical to enhancing education, public health, economic development and public safety.
“In the wake of our economic crisis, communities all across America are hurting,” said ADE Vice Chairman Emeritus Clarence Avant. “Broadband is a recognized economic driver with the ability to increase access to healthcare, education, public safety, and economic development. It is critical that we maintain and encourage greater affordability of this great tool as we work toward universal access.”
Today’s event began at 11:00 a.m. at the Challenger’s Boys & Girls Club Learning Center which serves to introduce Club members, especially those ages 6 to 11, to the functional use of computers. ADE donated 25 computers to the Learning Center-15 as replacements for old computers, and an additional 10 for members’ use. The additional and more up-to-date computers will enhance members’ ability to engage in activities including typing skills, science activities, online games and tutorial programs.
Challengers Boys & Girls Club’s Teen Technology Center is currently at the forefront of bridging the digital gap. Thanks to today’s donations, members are now armed with the tools to utilize technology to help with homework, develop resumes, research colleges or hone in their standardized test-taking skills. The center serves as a critical resource for many of the children who otherwise do not have access to computers or internet at home or school.
“Challengers Boys & Girls Club is tremendously grateful to the Alliance for Digital Equality for their generous donation,” Challenger Boys & Girls Club Director of Development, Angela Winston said. “We applaud ADE for their mission and vision, and appreciate these resources that will provide valuable access to our global technological environment – something that has now become a necessity for economic survival and success, particularly in underserved and economically disadvantaged communities. ADE’s gift goes a long way towards helping close the “digital divide” and creates viable opportunities to more than 2,500 at-risk boys and girls at Challengers that otherwise may have been left behind.”
Los Angeles, like so many other cities in this great nation, has been severely impacted by the global economic crisis. Access to affordable broadband will help prepare students for a 21st century economy and secure America’s competitive edge in the global marketplace. ADE’s Los Angeles Digital Empowerment Council (DEC) will continue to advocate for affordable access on behalf of ADE and the children of Los Angeles, like those at Challengers Boys & Girls Club.
The Los Angeles DEC’s General Chairpersons include California State Senator Curren Price, and Entertainer, Sheila E. The DEC membership includes a diverse group of local business and community leaders including representation from Tavis Smiley’s office, KJLH Radio Station, the Mexican American Chamber of Commerce, the National Black MBA Association, and the National Society of Black Engineers. ADE’s Los Angeles DEC is part of the nationwide initiative that advocates for increased affordable broadband access and adoption, especially in urban and underserved communities.
The mission of ADE’s DECs is to carefully examine the impact of broadband access on local communities, and to explore how expanded broadband Internet access will enhance opportunities for all Americans. ADE currently has DECs in Washington, DC, Newark, Detroit, Houston, Miami, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, and Charleston, S.C., and will expand to four additional cities this year including San Diego, Charlotte, Philadelphia and Richmond.
ADE’s findings and recommendations are available online at www.alliancefordigitalequality.org.
About The Alliance for Digital Equality
The Alliance for Digital Equality (ADE) is a non-profit consumer advocacy organization that serves to facilitate and ensure equal access to technology in underserved communities. The Alliance also serves as a bridge between policymakers and minority individuals in order to help the public understand how legislative and regulatory policies regarding new technologies can impact and empower their daily lives. For more information on The Alliance for Digital Equality, please visit www.alliancefordigitalequality.org.
Background Synopsis – Challengers Boys & Girls Club
As you know, Challengers Boys & Girls Club is located in South Central Los Angeles, an area with the highest rate of crime, high school drop out rates, gang violence and unemployment in the state of California. More than one-third of our Club members come from single-parent, female headed households and nearly 50% live at or below the federal poverty level. Median household income in this area is $20,275 and unemployment is almost 25%.
Challengers’ mission is to promote the optimal social development for at-risk youth ages 6 to 17. This is accomplished by providing constructive and positive alternatives to alienation and juvenile delinquency through a comprehensive program of personal and educational development; parent involvement; cultural enrichment; health and physical education; and various social and recreational activities, all designed to motivate, educate and elevate the children and teens of South Central Los Angeles to become responsible, caring, productive adults.
One of our premier programs at Challengers is our Teen Technology Center. Established in 2001, the Teen Tech Center benefits approximately 2,500 children and teenagers ages 12 to 17 annually by offering hands-on technology training. Here, teens enjoy a curriculum custom-made to their needs for school homework, college research or vocational training and job search. Once teens learn the basics of computer skills such as internet navigation, internet researching, and office management software proficiency, they have several ways to build upon their foundation of computer literacy.
At a time when at-risk, underserved youth are most vulnerable to negative peer pressure, the Teen Tech Center has provided a positive outlet where teenage members can learn crucial computing skills, improve their homework performance, and learn about academic and vocational possibilities in a safe, supervised environment. The Center is a priceless resource for many of the children who otherwise do not have access to computers or the Internet at home or at school. The Center has not only improved the retention rate of teens, but has proven to be a powerful recruiting tool for those new to the Club.
SAT and ACT training is another major component of the Teen Tech Center, since members can utilize the computers to take practice tests, bone up on math and verbal basics, and reduce the anxiety level surrounding standardized tests by becoming more familiar with such assessments. In addition, our members utilize a College Resource Center that houses college reference books and brochures.
Challengers strives to meet the changing demands of technology with state-of-the-art equipment and skills training in order to prepare our Club members for the college admissions process and the competitive job market. The Teen Tech Center is at the forefront of bridging the digital gap by allowing members to utilize computers in order to help with homework, develop resumes, research colleges or to hone their standardized test-taking skills. Our instructor not only provides basic career and college counseling but is also responsible for assessing current technology programs and hardware and, in turn, conducting needs-assessment. HTML programming, networking, Microsoft Office and Internet research are fundamental components of the Teen Tech Center’s core curriculum.
Our challenge at Challengers is keeping up with the increasing demand of technology learning. We have a tremendous need for upgraded computers for our Teen Technology Center. With only 15 computers that are already six years old, do not have CD rom or updated software programs, our resources are limited, outdated, and not meeting the demand of our Club members for advances in computer technology or enough available computers for adequate time to work on them.
We are asking for help from the Alliance for Digital Equality in obtaining 25 new computers with updated software and CD rom for Challengers Boys & Girls Club to give Club members the technology resources and training they so desperately need. The majority of our Club members rely on Challengers to provide them with computer access. Help us help our youth to succeed!