On Wednesday, EveryoneOn held a Kano computer building session for Jersey City youth, with the aim of increasing digital literacy and bridging the digital divide. The program was part of a series events aimed at helping youth living in HUD-assisted housing around the country. The event, organized in collaboration with Best Buy, was held at the Best Buy Teen Tech Center, located within the Boys and Girls Club of Hudson County. The computer building session was tailored towards underserved youth, and a team of seven facilitators from EveryoneOn, Best Buy, and GitHub provided free training for about 15 Jersey City children. When presented with his Kano package, one of the young participants, Skyler, exclaimed that the opportunity to build and own his computer was “like 10 birthdays in a box.”
At the end of the session, the students, who are all part of the ConnectHome initiative, received free, Internet-capable devices they can use to access the myriad resources the Internet has to offer.
Providing access to technology and the Internet through programs such as the Kano computer building session is incredibly important because 45 percent of low-income households in New Jersey lack Internet access. Given the fact that 80 percent of classes assign homework online, having 45 percent of low-income youth without access to the Internet means that a large portion of the population lacks the skills and tools to thrive in school.
Amber Petty, National Programs Coordinator at EveryoneOn, described the initiative as “providing the youth of Jersey City with a safe space in which to explore the world of computers, as well giving them the chance to take home devices that will grant them access to the opportunities the Internet presents.”
This summed up the spirit of the event perfectly, and we look forward to connecting many more families as the series continues.