The YWCA in Marion joined the Net Literacy Alliance as it works to increase digital inclusion throughout Grant County, Indiana. Additional information about the YWCA’s program is at http://www.ywca.org/site/pp.asp?c=igLQIYOEKpF&b=4933333. The Net Literacy (www.netliteracy.org ) and Bright House Networks (www.brighthouse.com) partnership in Indiana has increased computer access to tens of thousands of Hoosiers. The YWCA has taken a leadership role in Grant County working to reduce the digital divide and has created a public computer lab at the Five Corners Mall available to all Grant County residents at no cost. The YWCA and Ivy Tech students are also repurposing computers using the Computer Connects program and donating them to qualified Grant County residents. The YWCA also conducts computer, Internet, and Internet safety training at their facility at the Five Corners Mall.
An article written by the Chronical Tribune follows:
Computers Given to Families
Groups give machines to low-income families
By Brett Wallace
Published: Friday, October 16, 2009 1:09 AM EDT
A partnership between Bright House Networks, Net Literacy and the Marion-Grant County YWCA has already resulted in the giveaway of personal computers to dozens of not-for-profit groups across Grant County this year.
Families joined in the benevolence Thursday during a ceremony at the YWCA in which computers were given to people in need.
Donald Kent, president of the Carmel-based not-for-profit group Net Literacy, said his group has worked with Bright House to help put refurbished computers into the hands of underprivileged people.
The first 100 machines went to not-for-profit groups like Faulkner Academy, local libraries, the YWCA and others, he said. Then, another 150 machines were donated to Marion Community Schools.
Now, the benefactors are targeting low-income people in Grant County.
“Bright House Networks is a company that believes in investing back into the community it serves,” Kent said. “Additional technology makes the lives of the individuals more enriched.”
Cal Blumhurst, general manager for Bright House Networks in Grant County, said this type of philanthropy makes sense for the community and for his business.
“Technology is so much a part of the world today,” Blumhurst said. “You can’t find work or do your job without telecommunications. Anything we can do to increase peoples’ access to the net is good for them and good for us.”
Pamela Schlechty, executive director of the YWCA, said computers and technology are part of the fundamental shift of culture that Grant County must continue to pursue.
“When you’re shifting from an industrial community to a technology community, this is very important,” she said.
Schlechty hopes this distribution was not a one-time giveaway.
“We hope to continue this program,” she said. “Obviously, funding is imperative.”
Before receiving the machines, recipients are required to complete a pair of classes at the YWCA — one about basic computer usage, and another about Internet safety and security.
Dozens came to the agency Thursday to collect their own machine, including Simmie Cotton of Marion.
“I wanted to get more involved with computers,” he said. “I think it’s a great idea for all organizations that come together to help underprivileged families that don’t have computers.”
Cotton has eight children, including three at home, and said having the machine in the house should benefit them.
“I think it’ll help them learn more and help them in school — with history, with math,” he said. “This will give them another chance to learn something. It’s better than watching TV.”
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