The Internet Essentials Ambassadors program is a volunteer initiative for Comcast employees in which they help low-income families get connected to the Internet at home. The Ambassadors put themselves on the front lines of broadband adoption in the neighborhoods where they live and work to share the life-changing opportunities that Internet Essentials offers.
We have nearly 1,500 Ambassadors across the country, from technicians and engineers to customer care agents and corporate executives. Each one plays a role in helping to spread the word about Internet Essentials. Together, they have volunteered more than 5,300 hours since the start of the Ambassador program in 2012. With their help, from August 2011 through June 2014, we have connected more than 1.4 million Americans, or 350,000 low-income families, to the power of the Internet at home.
Below are two stories I’d like to share that help paint the picture of how our Ambassadors are making a difference.
Andrea Agnew of Voorhees, New Jersey is the executive director of Workforce Diversity & Inclusion for Comcast Cable and is responsible for developing and implementing diversity and inclusion best practices to enhance the culture of inclusion at Comcast.
Andrea is the second oldest of five children born to a teenage mother in Greenville, South Carolina in the 1960s. She grew up in low-income housing with a working mother who was deeply involved in her children’s education. Andrea’s mother ensured that school, books and music were tied into her children’s lives in whatever way possible. Although they had limited funds, the family took advantage of the various services available for low-income families at the local library. This often helped Andrea escape the reality of the limitations she faced in the real world.
The connection between her upbringing and the families that benefit from Internet Essentials is what encouraged her to become an Ambassador. Andrea attends events and visits schools in South Jersey to talk to students about how access to the Internet opens up new opportunities for not only them, but their entire family.
"If I didn’t have exposure to the Internet, I would have limited access to knowledge and opportunities. I would have felt left behind," Andrea said. "I have experienced and understand the value of having access— access to knowledge, access to opportunities and access to a whole new world."
Erika Colon works with customers across seven states on the customer care team. She grew up in a suburb of Philadelphia, in what she considered an area of poverty. In her elementary school, much of the books and technology were shared between classrooms. But then in middle school, in a different district, she had brand new books and exposure to a computer and the Internet. This opened her eyes to a world she never knew existed, and she realized that not everyone always has the same opportunities and access.
Erika’s realization of a digital divide at a young age is what drove her to become an Ambassador. She has attended dozens of events at local community organizations and school districts to speak about the importance of at-home Internet service. Erika also regularly visits her two former school districts to explain to students how exposure to the Internet at a young age can influence their career paths.
"Technology can impact and improve life abundantly, especially in our youth," Erika said. "Every night, at least one of my children is on the computer using the Internet to complete assignments for school. Internet access at home is even more crucial today than it was when I was in school."
Everyone can help more students and their families get online. To get information on Internet Essentials to share in your community, visit https://partner.internetessentials.com/.