This is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own.
Comcast is leveling the playing field. For the past 7 years, they’ve helping low income people connect to the Internet. They’ve now connected 6 million low income Americans to the Internet, one million and a half households. Many of who have never been connected to the Internet before.
U.S. Olympic Gold Medalists from the 2018 U.S. Women’s Hockey Team Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Monique Lamoureux-Morando were recently named as ambassadors and spokespeople for Comcast’s corporate values initiatives. We had the opportunity to meet with them and David Cohen, Comcast Senior Executive Vice President & Chief Diversity Officer, to learn more about Internet Essentials.
Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux shared that as gold medalists, as Olympic athletes, it gives you a certain platform to reach others. “A gold medal is great, and amazing to share, but it’s ultimately not the most important thing we’re going to do in our lives. To be able to use that to reach people, to make a difference, ultimately leveling the playing field in whatever aspect of life that means, that’s what we wanted to do. Working with Comcast has given us an opportunity to have a bigger platform, to have a bigger reach outside of North Dakota, traveling all over the country to bring awareness to this program, and connect more kids and adults.”
Internet Essentials from Comcast is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive high-speed internet adoption program for low-income families. It provides low-cost high-speed Internet service for $9.95 a month plus tax; the option to purchase an Internet-ready computer for under $150; and multiple options to access free digital literacy training in print, online and in person.
Announced last week, Comcast is expanding this program to low income Veterans. Roughly 1 million Veterans live in the Comcast footprint, 60,000 of them in the state of Washington. Statistics show that about 1/3 of Veterans don’t have Internet at home, 40% of them don’t own a computer.
How do you tell someone about Internet Essentials if they don’t have Internet?
Comcast started with parents of school aged children. Eligibility is that if a child participates in the National School Lunch Program that child’s family is eligible for Comcast Essentials. They reached out to schools, Boy & Girls Club, social gathering spots for mothers like beauty shops (in Philadelphia). Comcast also reaches participants through HUD, the VA and other Veteran service organizations.
Helping kids get their homework done.
63% of the schools in Seattle have more than 40% percent of the kids eligible for the school lunch program. If you have a child who attends a school where 40% of the kids are eligible for the school lunch program, every child at that school is eligible for Internet Essentials.
It’s easy to assume that all kids have access to computers or Internet to do their homework. It’s easy to assume a child can go to the library to work, or use the Internet at McDonalds to do a typing assignment. But that’s not always the case.
The morning before we met with Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux and Comcast, they gave 150 computers to 4th and 5th graders at Beverly Park Elementary School. Those kids won’t remember Jocelyne and Moniques as the gold medalists they met, but as the women who gave them a computer to level the playing field.
But how do you pick which student gets a laptop?
When they started the program, they had the schools pick about 30 kids to get a laptop. But David didn’t like that. So now every kid who is there gets a laptop. Typically it’s about 100 kids get that a new laptop. The laptops go to the kids, not the schools.
David Cohen shared with us a story about a young student in Miami. A 7th grade gifted student in a single parent home. Two days a week, she travels to a different school to participate in a gifted program. With this comes homework, that of course has to be done on the computer. This student was traveling to the library via bus for hours each day to complete her homework assignments, from the time she got off of school to 9 at night, and then a 90 minute ride home. Monday through Thursday. There’s no doubt she will succeed, but the playing field isn’t level. Comcast gave this student a laptop and a year of Internet Essentials. It changed her trajectory.
In addition, Comcast has also provided grants to associations affiliated with the schools to support the building of computer labs, digital literacy and other connectivity programs.
Equality with Women in Hockey – Girls need strong role models
Jocelyne and Monique are fighting for gender equity. In Hockey with their recent contracts they pushed for these main things: a livable wage, equal opportunities in funding, programs provided to the men are also provided to the women and more marketing efforts for the women’s team. They are still fighting and striving for more equity. Sharing the story has helped women in everyday life. Something like asking for a raise. It’s hard to ask for a raise if you don’t know what your male counterparts are getting for the same job. Those are tough and uncomfortable conversations to have, but you have to educate women. You somehow have to know those numbers, knowing the benefits. You shouldn’t have to choose between being a mom and having a career.
Level the playing field, sign up for Internet Essentials.
For more information, or to apply for the program, visit www.InternetEssentials.com or call 1-855-846-8376. Spanish-only speakers should call 1-855-765-6995.