As we enter a new year, the staff at EveryoneOn has taken some time to reflect on exactly what brought us to work on the issue of the digital divide and what continues to drive us in our work. This post is by Adelina Huerta, our California program coordinator. Find posts from other staff members here.
Since I was a young child, I have understood that my community of East Los Angeles endures inequality and was being “left behind.” Yet, I saw great potential in my peers, neighbors, and leaders. I knew that even greater potential, however, could be reached with the appropriate resources—such as quality education, engaged residents, and a sound economy.
This led me to pursue nonprofit and public interest work, focused on providing disadvantaged communities with tools for empowerment to enact the change necessary to thrive and prosper. My own experience of persevering through higher education despite limited access to digital technology allows me to understand the problems faced by one of every five U.S. households in our current digital age and global economy.
Having also worked in both public and charter schools, I witnessed the direct impact that utilizing technology in the classroom can have on a child’s learning process. From the struggling kindergartner spending extra time on an interactive computer game to understand and memorize vowel sounds, to the high school student who accessed practice activities online for the SAT exam, I saw the improvement in the student advancement and the increase in test scores.
I appreciate the fact that my current position with EveryoneOn allows me to return to schools where I had worked before to help staff and families get devices in the classroom, free computers to needy families, and high-speed Internet in their homes.
We live in a digital age. It is time to ensure that everyone—including underprivileged individuals and minorities—participates as digital citizens in order to help shape the future of technology. We need to ensure it is utilized for job creation, to access health information, and to increase civic engagement.
It is with great pride that I work here, with EveryoneOn, a fast growing and high-impact organization that is eliminating the digital divide and through that, creating a better future.
Adelina Huerta is the California project coordinator at EveryoneOn. Follow her on Twitter @huerta_adelina.