“This is an exciting event to happen in any community — 300 computers coming in and going to a group of sixth-graders. The things that come out of an event like that, the learning that is available to them, the way it can help bring the world to them and probably most important to the communities the way it can prepare them for the future,” said Kentucky Secretary of Education Helen Mountjoy.
The computers were donated through ConnectKentucky’s Computers 4 Kids program, which is designed to help close the digital divide among Kentucky’s youth. The donation was made possible by a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC).
“We are excited to participate in this program which benefits our eligible sixth-grade students,” said Timothy Saylor, Harlan County School District superintendent. “With today’s economic crisis in our country, this is a great project to help parents and students meet educational needs. Computer skills are vital in today’s global economy. Technological skills are vital in being prepared for the global workforce. This program is a tremendous asset for our students and will benefit them by helping to provide hands-on tools for learning.”
ConnectKentucky was recently awarded a $300,000 grant by ARC to distribute over 1,000 computers in the ARC region. With the support of the ARC and Lexmark International, ConnectKentucky will be distributing 313 computers paired with a Lexmark Inkjet Printer.
Mountjoy said it is especially exciting to be able to give the computers to sixth-grade students.
“Sixth grade is a transition year for students. They are leaving elementary school. It kind of marks a coming of age with the as they start on a new adventure. This helps to give them all of the tools they need to successfully complete that trek,” she said. “It can bring the world to the students.”
Computers 4 Kids brings together public and private partners to help Kentucky households join the information age. The program ensures that computers donated by the state and private providers will be saved from landfills and used to the benefit of Kentucky families.
Today, thousands of Kentucky children live in homes without computers. Computers 4 Kids is designed to help those children by providing access to technology where the need is the greatest. For many families, owning a computer is the first step to reaching the opportunities available through the Internet.
“Computers 4 Kids continues to transform the lives of Kentucky’s families,” said Andrew McNiell, the Vice President of Program Development for ConnectKentucky. “Through the generous contribution of the Appalachian Regional Commission and the support of our corporate partners, ConnectKentucky is closing Kentucky’s digital divide, one household at a time.”
Recent research revealed that broad-band adoption grew five times faster in counties that received computers through Computers 4 Kids and its predecessor, No Child Left Off-line, in the last two years.
Any sixth-grader wishing to learn more information regarding the program should contact their school’s Family Resource and Youth Services Center.