Kids today have a familiarity with technology unlike anything I, and probably most of you, knew growing up. As technology continues to advance, these skills are becoming ever more vital to academic success and career prospects. Yet, the reality is that more than 8 million young people lack regular access to a computer. And without access, many will be left behind.
Comcast shares our concern about the limited computer and Internet access many youth face. Comcast also understands that acquiring digital literacy skills is as critical to success as traditional literacy and math skills.
We created a program called Club Tech to make technology accessible, intriguing and fun for our Club members. Over the years, it has allowed kids to get creative and make music, build websites, create animated films and even construct robots.
With the support of Comcast, Clubs deliver Club Tech programs to nearly 1 million kids and teens each year. It's making a real difference in the lives of the youth we serve every day.
I recently had the opportunity to attend an event at one of our Metro Atlanta Clubs where Comcast announced the re-launch of its Internet Essentials program.
Comcast offers Internet Essentials to families of children who receive free or reduced school lunch, as many Club members do. Families who qualify can receive broadband service for $9.95 a month, a computer for $149.99 and access to free computer training. Programs like this are designed to help bridge the digital divide and provide opportunities for young people and their families to access the Internet and a computer at a reduced cost.
With a new school year just beginning, our goal is to prevent more youth from falling behind. Too many kids are on the wrong side of the digital divide. Without 21st century tools, getting a quality education, strengthening career skills and accessing health, education and financial information may be beyond their reach.
On behalf of the some 4 million kids and teens Boys & Girls Clubs serve every year, we are grateful to Comcast for their tremendous support. You can learn more about the Comcast-Boys and Girls Clubs of America partnership to bridge the digital divide at facesofthefuture.org.