Welcome to the Net Literacy site!
In 2003 when a senior citizen asked a middle school student for help because the mobility-impaired neighbors living at his independent living facility could not leave their apartments to learn how to access the Internet so they could send emails to their grandchildren, Net Literacy was born. Ten years later, 3500 student volunteers have spent 100,000s of hours as we have used technology to increase digital inclusion and digital literacy to 250,000 individuals. We work hard to increase digital engagement while providing our student volunteers job skills, life skills, and an opportunity to serve our community. As said by the middle school student that founded our organization, “while one person can make a difference, at Net Literacy, together we can change the world.” Today, Net Literacy is:
We were founded by a middle school student who used the money he was saving for a car to pay for the start up our nonprofit. We remain a “student empowered” organization of social entrepreneurs where students comprise 50% of the Board of Directors, set our mission and priorities, write our own grants, and students perform all of the volunteering and community services. We are an organization teaching students entrepreneurship, leadership, and job skills.
Through partnerships with hundreds of organizations, including national and state agencies, socially-minded corporations, schools, libraries, and other nonprofits, our Digital Literacy Corps of student volunteers have increased computer access to over 250,000 individuals. We have donated more than 27,000 computers that we have refurbished after school, on Saturdays, and during the summer for libraries, schools, and nonprofits. We student volunteers do all of the work and donate without charge all of our services and equipment.
Through service learning, we students learn and gain by helping others. Our programs increase student success by teaching leadership skills, group dynamics, job skills, and life skills. One person at a time, we go where the digital divide is the greatest and work hard to make a difference in our communities.
We have been at the forefront of those impacting national policy by writing white papers, co-hosting digital literacy summits, and working with national and international associations that promote broadband adoption, digital literacy, and innovation. The Federal Communications Commission called and interviewed us as they crafted America’s National Broadband Plan. Three of our programs were cited as good practices in the Nation Broadband Plan that was presented to Congress.
We have traveled from Australia to Hong Kong and from Europe to Africa meeting with nonprofits, ISPs, and government agencies while promoting digital inclusion and digital literacy. Our DigitalLiteracy.org “best practices” site has received the endorsement by Internet associations representing 270,000 Internet companies on six continents. Nominated by Intel, Computerworld recognized Net Literacy by awarding us the 2011 21st Century Achievement Award.
Our programs have received dozens of awards because of the difference that thousands of student volunteers have made impacting 100,000s of individuals. We have received awards from our nation’s leadership, including by two American Presidents. Learn more by clicking on “About Us”.