This Christmas, 30 students at Beattyville Elementary School in Lee County, Kentucky received the best Christmas present of their young lives – an all-in-one desktop computer – and that number does not take into account their school-age siblings who will also be putting their new computer to good use.

Among them is Lauren who one of the first things she did on her new computer was to write a thank you note to the supporters of Americans Helping Americans®: “Thank you for my computer I love it very much. I can use it to do my school work and projects. I use it every day and I love it.”

Sherry Lanham, director of the Lee County Family Resource Center, worked with school staff to determine which of the students would benefit the most from having a computer in their home and told us that Lauren is an excellent student, but her mother could not afford to buy her a computer.

“Lauren will be one child who will probably still have this computer when she enters college,” said Sherry. “She is very thoughtful and caring and takes excellent care of her things.

“Her mom was so pleased to have this opportunity.”

Christopher was another of the fortunate recipients. He lives with his father, but his mother and sister live in another state.

“Christopher is an excellent student,” she told us. “He will be using this for classwork, as well as keeping up with his mom and sister.”

Johnny is a special needs child, his 5-year-old brother Tommy has a severe disability and their parents are the type of people “who are willing to do anything for kids in our community,” says Sherry.

“They are a wonderful family and were so happy with this computer because it will be a great help with the boys,” she told us.

For three years now, Americans Helping Americans® has been working to help bridge the digital divide in the rural, distressed small town of Beattyville.

Kids like Lauren, Christopher, Johnny and Tommy and many others are at a major disadvantage in comparison with their more well-off classmates who have computers and broadband access at home.

Before Christmas, these four children were out of luck when their school was closed during a winter storm and could not email their teacher for assignments and do their homework during what the school calls a NTI (non-traditional instruction) day.

But that was then. With the new year brings new opportunities for these 30 students, their siblings and even their parents who have finally truly arrived in the 21st century thanks to the supporters of Americans Helping Americans® who are helping us bridge the digital divide one family at a time.