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WNY Public school students receive computer donations as a way to bridge the digital divide

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Posted at 1:01 AM, Jul 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-29 01:01:49-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Several local public school students received computer donations from several organizations to help bridge the digital divide among under-resourced students in Western New York.

At least 70 students will have a chance to have their own computer.

“I’m excited I never had a computer to myself, and I’ll be using it for good use,” says 8th grader Narya Horn.

Most of these students have been part of Western New York’s United Leaders Summer Program and come from four regional school districts: Buffalo, Frontier, Maryvale, and Lakeshore School Districts.

“This program doesn’t end after these four weeks,” says Executive Director Beth Anzalone of WNY United. “Our prevention specialist will meet with these students over the course of the next two years to continue their leadership journey.”

This initiative hopes to bridge the digital and homework gap with the help of Mission Ignite and others, along with the support of AT&T.

“We through COVID had experienced a lot of gaps and students in their homes, and so AT&T had stepped up to the podium to solve that issue,” says Executive Director Christine Carr-Barmasse of Mission Ignite.

Some of these students are heading to Hutchinson Technical High School, where their computers will help give them a head start in learning computer engineering.

“I’m going to Hutch tech, and I’m going for engineering, and I’d like to computer engineering and like reassemble it and code it to my own ability,” says Narya Horn. “There are so many things you can do, for example art, computer engineering, and coding, so many different fields to work in this tiny little computer, and I’d like to say that I am so grateful,” says 8th grader Mohammad Tamal.

The director of external affairs of AT&T, Kevin Hanna, says across the U.S., millions of children struggle with virtual and digital learning because of poor connectivity at home.

He says he’s committed to breaking those barriers.

“Our mission that’s part of AT&T three year two billion dollar commitment to narrow the digital divide in the homework gap,” Hanna says. “Projects such as these help bridge the digital gap by providing underserved residents with digital resources.”

Hanna says AT&T looks forward to providing computers to Western New York students over the next year and a half with the help of Mission Ignite and other partners.