Five years ago the recognition of significant challenges facing many young people and families in the Kenilworth-Parkside community in Ward-7 of Washington, D.C. laid the foundation for the DC Promise Neighborhood Initiative (DCPNI). Selected in 2010 as one of 57 Promise Neighborhoods across the United States by the U.S. Department of Education, DCPNI’s mission is to increase the number of children who complete their education from cradle to college and enter adulthood as productive participants in the 21st – century economy and in the civic life of their communities.
DCPNI’s framework for success focuses on providing Five Promises for Two Generations—children and parents. The Five Promises we believe every child and parent that is part of our collective village needs in order to reach their full potential: caring adults, safe places, a healthy start, an effective education, and an opportunity to give back.
We’ve begun the work to develop and implement a data-driven, results-oriented strategy that aligns partners, and connect resources directly to our students in order to close the achievement gap to end generational poverty.
Access to the Internet and the development of 21st Century learning skills are crucial elements to fulfilling DCPNI’s mission. We believe strongly in the flexibility that Internet access will allow in delivering and receiving our Five Promises and to our young people and their families’ success in school, in the workplace, and in life.
We saw this first-hand just this summer with the launch of DCPNI’s Digital Media Academy; where fifteen young people learned from some of the world’s best at CNN, BET, Radio One, and other leading media organizations about careers in the digital arts, while learning valuable skills and creating their own PSAs on one of our community’s leading issue—teen pregnancy. One of the primary tools we needed to fuel the creativity and dissemination of their work was technology—broadband Internet.
Several of the young people from the Digital Media Academy have gone on to college this fall. Because we see bright faces and bright futures from these kinds of programs, we are excited about forging new partnerships that allow us to bring more of these resources and access to our community.
Today, I was honored to join Comcast Executive Vice President David Cohen, America’s Promise Alliance Chair and DCPNI Honorary Chair Alma Powell, and our Founder, Irasema Salcido to announce a partnership that will bring new opportunities for many of the families and partner schools we serve; helping to increase digital literacy, connect them to resources, and more importantly to the opportunities these resources make available—knowledge that will last a lifetime and skill-sets needed to compete from cradle to college and beyond.
Comcast is working to help provide that through its Internet Essentials program, which aims to bridge the digital divide and increase broadband adoption rates among lower-income families by providing them with affordable Internet service, a low-cost computer, and free digital literacy training resources.
As part of the new partnership between DCPNI and Comcast, 300 families with children who attend Neval Thomas Elementary School, the Parkside Campus of Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools for Public Policy, and Educare of Washington, D.C. will receive a free computer upon enrollment in the Internet Essentials program. In addition, Comcast will sponsor five Internet Essentials digital literacy training courses offered by DCPNI that will focus on Internet basics, online safety, and finding and applying for jobs online.
As Executive Director of DCPNI, I have had the pleasure of knowing those involved in bringing the organization to fruition, and who work tirelessly day after day to fuel its mission. Today, I stand alongside leaders at Comcast to help advance their efforts to present our young people with the access to new opportunities and resources that can help them to achieve the success we all want for them through Internet Essentials.
Programs and partnerships like ours demonstrate how we can work together to make a real and meaningful difference in the lives of children in our local communities and nationwide.
For more information about DC Promise Neighborhood Initiative visit www.dcpni.org.