Program to provide low-income families with internet connections and computers that support distance learning
Comcast has partnered with Atlanta Public Schools (APS) to launch the Get Our Kids Connected campaign to support low-income families during the COVID-19 crisis. Through the Internet Essentials program, Comcast is working with APS to solicit financial support from individuals and organizations to sponsor students with low-cost, high-speed internet and computers.
“A growing number of students attending Atlanta Public Schools do not have internet service or the technology in their homes to stay connected,” said Jason Gumbs, Comcast Regional SVP in Atlanta. “This disparity creates significant barriers for our students, particularly during a time when so many of us are required to work and learn from home.”
Get Our Kids Connected is powered by Comcast’s Internet Essentials program – the nation’s leading low-cost broadband adoption program. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Internet Essentials speeds have been permanently increased for all customers. Any new customers who connect will get 60 days of internet service for free and will only pay $9.95 per month thereafter.
“As we closed schools for teleschooling and teleworking in response to COVID-19, we needed more help from partners to close the digital divide and keep our students connected,” APS Superintendent Dr. Meria Carstarphen said. “Comcast responded to our call in a great and generous way!”
“This program will not only provide our families with resources that support distance learning during the COVID-19 crisis, it also provides resources that will help supplement and enrich the education our students are receiving in our classrooms moving forward,” said APS Board Chairman Jason Esteves. “We are grateful to Comcast and all of the program’s donors.”
As seen in On Common Ground News, for $300, contributors can give the gift of connectivity, which will provide students with a laptop and an internet connection for 12 months. APS has identified a pilot group of 1,000 students with an immediate need, which sets the fundraising goal at $300,000.
Trinity HealthShare, a 501(c)(3) non-profit health care sharing ministry, is the first major outside donor with a $50,000 contribution to kick start the campaign. This is in addition to a $40,000 contribution made by Comcast.
“At Trinity, we believe every child should have access to all available resources in their time of need; this is one of those times,” said Trinity HealthShare CEO William “Rip” Thead.
“We see the children of Atlanta Public Schools as ‘our children’. When we became aware of the opportunity to provide laptops directly to students who normally would go without, we wanted to take immediate action. This $50,000 donation is what we believe will be a jump start for reducing the technology gap for our children in the City of Atlanta.”
Both Comcast and APS have already made strides toward getting an initial group of students enrolled in the program.
Because the COVID-19 crisis has forced schools across the country to close and transition to e-learning, Get Our Kids Connected is looking to the business, nonprofit and philanthropic communities. Donating to the fund will meet the urgent need to get APS kids and families connected immediately with personal devices and connectivity in their homes for the long term.
Those interested in donating can do so by visiting www.atlantapublicschools.us/getourkidsconnected.