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 Amber Petty, our programs associate. Find posts from other staff members here.
As I entered the spring semester of my senior year in college I, like many of my classmates who were not going immediately to graduate school, was unsure of what to do next. One of my good friends reached out to me to tell me about Princeton’s Project 55 fellowship program, which pairs recent graduates with opportunities to work for nonprofits working to make a social impact.
I have always held Princeton’s school motto (“In the nation’s service, and in the service of all nations”) and the idea that every person has a social responsibility to help others dear to me. So, this program seemed the ideal situation to allow me to join a team of like-minded individuals and make a difference. It is through this fellowship program that I was introduced to EveryoneOn.
I was most inspired to join in EveryoneOn’s mission by my conversations with our CEO Zach Leverenz. He is an individual who has been working in the digital inclusion space for years and I was encouraged by his zeal for home broadband adoption, his stories of the progress EveryoneOn has been able to make, and their plans for the future.
Since joining EveryoneOn, what has kept me motivated has been teaching communities and organizations of the relevancy of a home Internet connection. Not only for the tools and services that our beneficiaries have received from having broadband at home, but that the Internet is a platform for collaboration and societal contributions. The next generation of innovation is occurring online and giving everyone a voice is the first step in ensuring a brighter future.
The most rewarding experiences I have had during my time working for EveryoneOn have been my interactions with beneficiaries. From students accessing online assignments, individuals who have gained entry into new job markets, to family members who now have a new method of communication, being able to hear their stories and see the connection being made in understanding relevancy has been great.
It is my hope that as we move forward I will have the opportunity to speak with more beneficiaries as we expand our reach to more communities, helping them to connect and interact with today’s digital society.