Technology has a foothold in every aspect of today’s society but many children in the heart of Appalachia are getting left behind as for their parents a computer and internet service is simply a “luxury” they cannot afford. Last year, Americans Helping Americans® launched a pilot program to bridge the digital divide and supplied 24 elementary students in Beattyville, Kentucky with desktop computers for use at home. Because of the great success of the program, we saw the children improve their grades on assignments and keep in touch via email with their teachers on days they were sick or school was closed due to inclement weather! Feedback from teachers is that the computers provided to the students allowed the children to further educate themselves and research topics of interest to them. The students were able to get deep into a topic, gather more details, and use that information to support their answers with low-cost internet service in a partnership between the school and AT&T.
The students love to learn with computers. It’s fun for them! They can play online learning games to help with lessons and they become more tech savvy! Americans Helping Americans® is extremely proud of the students’ accomplishments and this year we were able to send an additional 30 computers to new students!
Among the 75 letters from children requesting their reason for needing a computer are:
“Most of the time I struggle on tests, but with this computer, I could study much more fluently and do better on tests.” – Kalib
“One way in which a computer would be beneficial to me is to be able to work on my online school problems. I could work on my Lexia, to build on my reading and math comprehension. I could do my Moby Max, an online max and reading program. I could study islands which helps learn about social studies.” – Kaison
“My first reason is teacher communication. I could e-mail questions if I am having trouble with my work. I could complete assignments that I have missed if I was ill. I could also facetime or skype my teachers if I need to.” –Allyson
Americans Helping Americans® is proud of your support to our programs like this! We hope to provide computers to entire schools and train the next generation of tech-savvy children in the years to come so they can have bright futures and sharp minds. Computer Science opportunities are always increasing and who knows, maybe you helped the next Bill Gates get their very first computer.
Leslie joined the L.A.M.P program because she was failing school.
“Nobody cared, so why should I” she questioned.
But at L.A.M.P she did find people who cared- plenty of them.
With that realization, her life would change forever.
I have a mentor who helps me and expects to do good,” she says.
“She explains stuff – school stuff, but life stuff too.”
“I never knew I was worth anything before,” she adds.
Without strong positive intervention, a girl like Leslie has more than a 70 percent chance of dropping out of school and being a homeless unwed mother who spends time in jail or prison.
Your help is changing Leslie’s life and through her friends and siblings.
And Leslie can attest to that.
A brother and sister who were taken from the mother by the state due to neglect and abuse went to live in their aunt’s home. Shortly after, the aunt’s husband, the family’s sole breadwinner, had a massive heart attack and had to stop working.
They were having a very hard time but managed to keep going. They were so grateful for the computer. It not only made a great Christmas gift, but it helped the children with homework and school projects.
The children love using their computers. Having one in the household has been a boon to the entire family as well.
In addition, computers have not only been beneficial in homework for the students, but also several parents attended a computer class. The parents learned how to do resumes, use the internet, use Word and Excel, and many other programs including taking online courses.
The students benefitted from having the computer during NTI (non-traditional instruction) days. This happens when the weather is bad and also if they are out for school-wide illness. Students are able to get online and do assignments while teachers can watch them from school or home.
And the list of benefits of having a computer in the home only continues to grow.
Many school children in Appalachia live with no computer and broadband internet access at home.
That means that low-income students without computers cannot do their homework. They cannot conduct research for school projects. They cannot email their teachers if they have a question or need guidance. They cannot do their assignments when school isn’t in session.
In fact, they are on the wrong side of what is known as the “digital divide.”
In 2016, thanks to our supporters, we took the first steps towards bridging that divide.
Working with our partner the Lee County Family Resource Center (LCFRC) in Beattyville, Kentucky, 24 children at Beattyville Elementary School received an all-in-one desktop computer. The school also worked with AT&T to provide their families with low-cost broadband internet service.
Kelsey, a 5th grader, and her brother, Eric, who just started first grade, were among the students who received a computer last year. Kelsey was able to use the computer to conduct research for a school project on how Native Americans lived.
“They had a wonderful project,” reported LCFRC director Sherry Lanham.
The program has been such a success thus far. Our goal is to equip another 30 Beattyville students before the end of 2017.