As part of the 10-year anniversary of Internet Essentials, the largest and most successful broadband adoption program in the country, Comcast announced it is donating 1,200 laptop computers and a total of $30,000 in grants to benefit low-income students and households served by Ohio County Schools, the North Wheeling Community Youth Center and Youth Services System, Inc. of Wheeling.
The computer donations and grants are part of Project UP, Comcast’s $1 billion commitment to reach 50 million people over the next 10 years with the tools, resources, and skills needed to succeed in a digital world. Recently, Comcast pledged to donate $15 million to low-income students and households across the country to not only help close the “homework gap” but also put them on a path toward future professional success. The amount includes an estimated 25,000 free laptops that will be donated to students, seniors, veterans, and adults.
As part of that effort, Comcast is donating 850 of these computers to Ohio County Schools students, with the district identifying students in need who are involved in a variety of programs in its four middle schools and Wheeling Park High School. Ohio County Schools also plans to distribute some laptops to community partners, including Crittenton Services and the Children’s Home of Wheeling.
“Comcast’s donation will benefit so many students who would have no other way to own such technology,” Ohio County Schools Superintendent Kimberly Miller said. “I know they will truly appreciate it, and I’m sure their parents will as well. Ohio County Schools is so grateful for this exceptional educational outreach by Comcast.”
In addition, Comcast will donate 250 computers to the North Wheeling Community Youth Center and 100 to Youth Services System Inc., each of which are also receiving $15,000 grants to continue their work addressing digital equity in the community. Both community partners already benefit from Comcast’s Lift Zones program, which provides free WiFi service to help connect low-income families to the Internet so they can fully participate in educational opportunities and the digital economy. The North Wheeling Community Youth Center Lift Zone was activated earlier this year and installations at four Youth Services System, Inc. sites were recently completed.
“NWCYC has a long-standing relationship with Comcast, and I am excited to take it to the next level,” said Dr. Darrell Cummings, executive director and founder of North Wheeling Community Youth Center. “For 31 years, NWCYC has been serving children in need in our immediate Ohio County area, as well as in Brooke, Hancock and Belmont counties.
“Comcast’s generous contribution of $15,000 and 250 laptops will go far in helping us address digital equity in the tri-state area, as we will be working through sister organizations such as Bethlehem Apostolic Temple in Wheeling, Shiloh Apostolic Faith Assembly in Weirton, Greater Love Ministries in Belmont County and the Ohio Valley Pastors Tri-State Association as well as other schools and organizations.”
“Comcast cares about the communities they serve, and it shows. This $15,000 donation will allow Youth Services System to make a positive difference in the lives of the most vulnerable children and adults in our community, helping us to prevent homelessness and provide tangible as well as emotional and mental health support through our many programs,” said Tammy Kruse, president of Youth Services System, Inc., which since 1974 has reached 60,000 youth with its services. “The laptops will give the youth we serve the technology they need to succeed in school. We want to say thank you to Comcast for choosing to partner with YSS in its mission to create better futures for children, families and our community.”
Since its inception in 2011, Comcast’s Internet Essentials program has connected a cumulative total of more than 10 million low-income Americans to broadband service at home, including more than 48,000 in West Virginia.
“We are proud to continue our community support in Wheeling and to do so in a very special way this year by providing these computers and grants,” said Toni Murphy, senior vice president of Comcast’s Keystone Region, which includes the West Virginia panhandle and the Ohio Valley. “We have been working hard to close the digital divide in our country and promote digital equity for more than 10 years, and we believe this support, with the help of our great partners, will go a long way toward ensuring more households in Wheeling are able to participate in the digital economy.”