2007 – Daniel Kent
In 2003, while still a middle school student, Daniel Kent, founded the Net Literacy Corporation, a 501 (c)(3) “youth empowered” non-profit organization that benefits from adult mentoring and direction. Now a high school senior attending Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School, Daniel continues to grow and develop the corporation. Net Literacy’s mission is to empower youth to increase computer availability and Internet literacy for underserved youth, families, and senior citizens.
Net Literacy has four main initiatives that promote Internet and computer literacy: Senior Connects, Safe Connects, Community Connects, and Computer Connects. With over 400 middle and high school youth volunteers that visit numerous middle and high schools, the organization has an adult board, a youth board, and a full time adult mentor.
The Senior Connects Program, Net Literacy’s flagship program, promotes senior citizen computer and Internet literacy by supplying computers and training materials; or by building public computer labs and teaching senior citizens computer and Internet skills. Safe Connects provides education on Internet safety to elementary and middle school students, focusing on Net predators, adult content, net safety, and netiquette. The Community Connects program provides computer labs to HUD and Section 8 apartments, community centers, pre-school, after school, faith-based and other non-profits seeking to establish their own computer labs. The Computer Connects initiative brings student volunteers together once a week to repurpose thousands of computers in support of the Community Connects and Senior Connects programs.
Through Net Literacy, more than $500,000 has been raised in donations, $236,000 in college scholarships for inner-city volunteers. To date, over 400 students from schools in the Indianapolis and Fort Wayne metropolitan areas have volunteered to repurpose computers or teach in their communities and provide extensive one-on-one training.
Since 2005, TechPoint Foundation has supported Net Literacy’s efforts to increase computer access and literacy throughout Indiana, educate youth and adults about Internet safety, and promote youth philanthropy and community service. And TechPoint member companies have been important and enthusiastic Net Literacy community partners.
“We have worked with Daniel and his organization for several years and he is a great example of what the ‘bridge builder’ award is all about. As a company we are dedicated to helping corporate clients move, remove, and recycle retired technology, so working with Net Literacy has been perfect fit,” says Mark Vander Kooy, president of Asset Forwarding Corporation. Through their partnership with Asset Forwarding and the Indiana Recycling Coalition, Net Literacy has provided reconditioned computers that now serve thousands of underserved youths, families, and senior citizens.
According to Bright House Networks, their partnership with Net Literacy has been good for the company and the Central Indiana community. “For the past three years, we’ve had a corporate mission of making life easier for our community and our customers,” said Buz Nesbit, president of Bright House Networks Indiana. “We also strongly support improving the education of our youth. Because Daniel’s vision embraces both of those principles, we eagerly accepted the role of providing a 2006 grant to help defray costs of setting up the Net Literacy community outreach programs. And, because Net Literacy well exceeded its 2006 goals, we have continued our partnership and have provided them with another grant for 2007.”
Daniel Kent and Net Literacy have been widely recognized by a distinguished list of community leaders and organizations that includes Presidents Clinton and Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Senator Robert Dole, the Indiana General Assembly, and the City of Indianapolis. It is with great pleasure that the TechPoint Foundation adds the 2007 Bridge Builder Award to these well-deserved honors.