As we enter a new year, the staff at EveryoneOn has taken some time to reflect on exactly what brought us to work on the issue of the digital divide and what continues to drive us in our work. This post is by Reginald Galloway, our programs & operations manager. Find posts from other staff members here.
“Big things have small beginnings, sir.” – Mr. Dryden, Lawrence of Arabia
One day during the fall of 2012, my supervisor asked me to join a conference call to discuss the launch of Connect2Compete’s pilot initiative with Cox Communications in San Diego, CA. On this call, I learned that Connect2Compete, EveryoneOn’s flagship program, was an unprecedented public-private partnership working to promote broadband adoption. Furthermore, the purpose of this particular call was to update Connect2Compete’s partner organizations about the pilot’s progress in providing approximately 1,000 families in San Diego with affordable, high-speed internet access and devices.
The first impression that I formulated of Connect2Compete as a result of the call was as an ambitious and necessary program that could have a positive impact on thousands of low-income and minority families. Furthermore, I knew Connect2Compete was an initiative that I wanted to be a part of; almost two years later, I got my wish—and then some!
As a young professional who entered the nonprofit sector to help end the digital divide, working at EveryoneOn is my dream job. At a time when one in four households are without home internet access and only 50 percent of low-income African American families are connected at home, it is a joy to come to work and know I have a role in changing that reality.
For example, one of most satisfying aspects of my job is working with our regional managers and Internet service provider partners to help organizations and school districts across the country provide service and devices to their beneficiaries. Once we finalize these projects, hundreds, if not thousands of individuals have affordable, quality home internet access either for the very first time or for the first time at a reasonable and sustainable price-point.
Think about the doors that open for so many people: K-12 public school students who are now able to complete their homework in the comfort of their own home, working adults who are now able to save time paying a bill online, or seniors who are now able to Skype with their grandchildren thousands of miles away. The opportunities that home connectivity provides are endless and awesome!
On a personal note, the opportunities EveryoneOn has opened for me are awesome and seem to be endless. One of the highlights of my career has been working on the White House’s ConnectED initiative and with the National Advisory Council on ConnectED (NACC). During my work with the NACC, I had the opportunity to collaborate with and learn from chief information officers who lead the nation’s most technologically advanced and innovative public school districts, including those in Miami-Dade and Detroit.
Another aspect of my job that I enjoy is the opportunity to help grow an ambitious, exciting, and dynamic national organization that is dedicated to achieving universal internet access for all Americans.
Perhaps most importantly, I cannot overstate how thankful I am to be part of an organization, composed of dedicated professionals, that values diversity, equality, and teamwork. From day one, I felt as though EveryoneOn is a team united in its mission to eliminate the digital divide and, to that end, I’m happy to do whatever it takes: from collaborating with our partners on ConnectED to filing the CEO’s taxi cab receipt. That’s why I’m here.