Overtown Children & Youth Coalition Looks to Pave The Way Toward Digital Equity For Underserved Communities
[MIAMI] – The Overtown Children and Youth Coalition (OCYC) is an organization that serves as a catalyst to convene, network, leverage, scale, and impact a critical mass of children and youth who benefit from and contribute to the continued growth and redevelopment of the area in positive and meaningful ways hosted their second Laptop Scholarship Program at the CIC Miami.
Thirty students submitted a quote to OCYC sharing how helpful having a laptop would be for them. The scholarship for the students goes beyond just receiving a laptop. The students are provided with free access to the internet, skills training on business basics such a website development, social media edict and program usage of standard business applications, and more.
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In addition, this program secures the license necessary to access tools provided by Microsoft through Microsoft’s 365 Education solution. This initiative is the head start our children, and youth desperately need to compete and thrive in the marketplace of today and tomorrow. Through this program provided by Microsoft, students will be inspired by the powerful tools and technologies designed to support collaboration, innovation, and the proper level of motivation.
According to the ACT Center for Equity in Learning, the digital divide in education is the gap between those with sufficient knowledge of and access to technology and those without. As teachers use more technology in their courses, this divide increases and continue to perpetuate socioeconomic disparities for underserved populations.
“We are grateful for the support of our laptop scholarship program. Unfortunately, the students in our communities faced an increased learning and digital divide during the pandemic. However, we know that digital connectivity opens doors and imaginations beyond what we ever thought possible,” says Dr. Graylyn Swilley-Woods, Executive Director, Overtown Children and Youth Coalition.
The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the already existing digital divide. OCYC received a grant from funders, Florida Children Initiative, Miami Foundation, and Shipley Foundation. The funding supports OCYC’s Scholarship Award Program for children and youth to own a personal laptop for school success.OCYC’s scholarship program will distribute over 5000 laptop devices over the next five years.
OCYC is committed to assisting students who can’t participate in digital learning because they don’t have a reliable internet connection or device.
Why Would a Laptop be Helpful?
Students were asked why a laptop would be helpful for them. Here are some of the responses.
“I think I deserve a laptop because school is really important to me. My parents are struggling to afford a laptop even though they work so hard every day. My siblings and I share one laptop, and sometimes there is not enough time to study how I should…I will be a doctor one day, and that requires a lot of studying.”
“I am fully a virtual student and need a computer to complete my schoolwork. School is my top priority because I know that the better I do in school, the better chance I have to be successful.”
“A laptop would help me, so I don’t have to go to the library after school and
I won’t have to ask others to use theirs.”
“I need it to do my homework and to start applying for college.”
“I think I deserve a laptop because school is really important to me. My parents are struggling to afford a laptop even though they work so hard every day. My siblings and I share one laptop, and sometimes there is not enough time for me to study how I should…I will be a doctor one day, and that requires a lot of studying.”