Why I'm Here: Reba Watkins

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 Reba Watkins, our national partnerships and development manager. Find posts from other staff members here.

My grandmother turned 83 yesterday and exactly one week ago she Skyped her great-great-granddaughter for the very first time—thanks to the work we do at EveryoneOn. Before I joined the EveryoneOn team, my grandmother was but one of many faces of the digital divide.

In today’s digital society, technology greatly impacts our approaches to healthcare, education, employment and even our social lives. When I learned about EveryoneOn in 2013, I was shocked to discover that more than 63 million Americans were not connected to the Internet. Without access to the internet, how could people find jobs? file taxes? enroll in health care? apply for college? I wondered before I reached the most important question of all: How can I help?

Early in my career I developed a passion for nonprofit work. For me, there’s a deep sense of fulfillment that comes from knowing that my life’s work is devoted to helping others. Over the years, I’ve learned that effective nonprofits can be monumental changemakers and at EveryoneOn we’re providing direct access to opportunity.

After learning more about our platform of low-cost offers and finding local digital literacy training resources through the EveryoneOn website, my grandmother was not only able to connect to the Internet, but she also took a few computer classes at her local library and even signed up for her own Facebook account to stay in touch with friends and family.

As development manager, I help form key relationships across the nation with partners who have  the common goal of closing the digital divide. In this role, I’ve had a chance to see the joy on the faces of children in low-income homes who receive technology because of the work we do. I’ve seen the endless opportunities that access to the Internet provides to some of the most vulnerable populations. At EveryoneOn, we are empowering disadvantaged Americans with the tools and skills they need to succeed in the 21st century. Together we’re bringing the power of technology to every home in America.

What can I say? I love what I do.