This blog originally was posted on the Broadband For America website and is used here with permission.
A few years ago I was working at a nonprofit organization, overseeing a digital inclusion project that provided low-income families with in-home computers and Internet connectivity. As a result of the program, it was becoming common to receive email communication from our clients; but one day I received an email from an address I did not recognize. The message had no subject line and I remember hesitating to open it out of fear of spam or a virus – it never looks good when the person running the technology initiative infects the work network. When I finally double clicked, the message contained one simple line from a client I had worked with frequently:
Last weekend, I was honored to be a bridesmaid in the wedding of one of my closest friends, and former work colleague. Beyond the beautiful setting, the happy couple, and the great music, this wedding was more than the uniting of two of my friends – it was a reminder of the countless ways we can all give back, and of how, for some, giving is woven into the fabric of daily living.
An aspect I miss about working in the nonprofit sector on digital divide initiatives is the opportunity to be on the ground, physically delivering computers to families and witnessing their excitement. But in late May, I had the opportunity to get a hands-on look at recent efforts to bridge the divide when I traveled to San Diego for an event marking the kickoff of the Connect2Compete pilot.
I was recently forwarded an article entitled “The Absurdity of the Digital Divide.” In the piece, the author, John Dvorak, suggests that the digital divide is “specious,” perhaps cynically drummed up by the IT sector to sell more equipment.
BYOD, or “bring your own device,” is a topic of frequent discussion in the business realm; but BYOD programs are also gaining momentum in K-12 education. As the phrase implies, in a typical BYOD arrangement, students are permitted to bring electronic devices they already own to school for classroom use. However, the question then arises - what about the student who doesn’t have a personal electronic device? Or the child whose family owns a laptop, but it’s so outdated that it cannot keep pace with those of his or her peers?
E-waste may be among the fastest growing municipal waste streams in the United States, but according to our Earth Day Survey, there’s still good news to celebrate.
Earth Day arrives again this week, and for some, brings tremendous anticipation. Despite my own affinity for a day dedicated to giving back, and to the free veggie burgers offered by my favorite organic restaurant, Earth Day brings to light one of the more discouraging realities – that e-waste is still among the fastest growing municipal waste streams in the United States.
I was looking for mice.
Working in Family Services at Habitat for Humanity – Greater Columbus, I was making cold calls in pursuit of IT equipment to provide local Habitat families with in-home computer access. A happenstance cold call to Redemtech turned into much more than a donation of computer mice – a formal partnership between Redemtech and Habitat for Humanity International that is today a nationwide offering under the Serious Good® program.