November 2014 Update

EveryOneOn
We now offer the Internet equivalent of a pay-as-you-go cell phone plan! For just $10 a month, low income individuals and families can connect with fast, unlimited 4G wireless Internet. No credit checks, no long term contracts. One of the most important aspects of our digital inclusion efforts is to create opportunities for low income families to get online in their homes. After a year of planning and research, we have found an approach that almost everyone we work with can afford.  This program is made possible by a partnership with EveryOneOn.org and Mobile Beacon.  To learn more call us at (913) 730-0677.

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Since we opened the NE Wyandotte County Community Technology Center in March 2014, hundreds of residents of the Juniper Gardens public housing project and the surrounding neighborhood have used the facility. They take advantage of open computer lab times, free classes and other activities. Open five days a week, the center has become a valuable resource to both adults and youth in one of Kansas City’s most under resourced neighborhoods. It is a model we plan to replicate in other needy inner city Kansas City neighborhoods, making public access computing more widely available.  Over the past several weeks, we’ve made a significant investment in upgrading the computer lab with additional technology and faster bandwidth. The result is an even better user experience for those who use our computers on a daily basis.

LiteracyKC
Literacy Kansas City is a non-profit organization providing no-cost, one-to-one tutoring services to adults in the greater Kansas City area. Through our partnership with them, the people they  help learn to read are now able to get very inexpensive PCs and the digital skills they need to access the online world. We are grateful for the opportunity to work with them and other great local people-helping organizations with training for their staffs, inexpensive computer equipment and low cost IT services.

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The busy workbench at our PC refurbishing workshop. This past year, we saved hundreds of perfectly useful computers from the scrap dealers and put them into the hands of  low income individuals. Most have gone to inner city neighborhoods where fewer than 1 in 5 households own a computer according to the 2013 US Census. For people who struggle to meet their daily expenses, it’s difficult to get a computer. We make it easier by asking $75 for a complete system – and that can be done on layaway. Our workshop has scaled up and we are now producing nearly 200 Internet ready PCs a month.

MARC

While our computer refurbishing efforts get affordable computers to low income families, we are helping the environment too. To recognize our efforts, on December 5, 2014,  the Mid-America Regional Council will honor Connecting for Good as one of their 2014 Sustainable Success Stories. This award highlight projects that advance the three pillars of sustainability — social equity, economic vitality and environmental stewardship.

As you are planning your year end charitable contributions, please consider investing in Connecting for Good.  Please help us to continue our efforts to make sure that anyone who can benefit from using the Internet is able to do so.  Won’t you help?

17. November 2014 by Michael Liimatta

2014 Kansas City Digital Inclusion Summit

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An open forum to discuss issues and ideas concerning digital efforts in Kansas City was held at Kansas City Digital Inclusion Summit Friday, October 17 at The Kansas City Public Library-Central Library.

From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. community members and leaders from Missouri and Kansas explored how Kansas City can benefit from its technology resources in order to close the ‘digital divide’ in the city.

The summit was sponsored by the Kansas City Digital Inclusion Alliance, a coalition of regional nonprofit, government and business leaders dedicated to raising digital literacy in Kansas City.

12. October 2014 by Michael Liimatta

Fall 2014 Update – Our Digital Inclusion Efforts

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Family Computer Day at the Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council.

Throughout the summer of 2014 we’ve continued to bring our digital life skills classes to people in Kansas City’s under resourced urban core neighborhoods.  In the last few months we introduced Family Computer Days which have been held at inner city neighborhood centers, churches and schools. After the classes, participants can take home a PC for as low as $75.00. By the end of this year, we expect to have trained over 2,000 people, 25% of whom have never used a computer.

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Digital Life Skills classes at the Reconciliation Services Internet Cafe

We’ve partnered with Reconciliation Services to create the first public computing space on Troost Avenue. With the Internet Cafe up and running at 31st & Troost, we are conducting  digital literacy classes there twice a week with growing attendance. Additional activities are offered to provide people in this central inner city neighborhood access to free computer time and other career and learning opportunities.

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Teens use the PCs at our KCK Community Technology Center

Our NE Wyandotte County Community Technology Center is serving the Juniper Gardens housing project and surrounding community in partnership with the Kansas City Kansas Housing Authority. Since we opened the 20 seat public access computer lab in March 2014, 1100 adults ages 19 to 80 have used the facility to take advantage of classes and open lab time.  About 75% of the adults who come are women, most of whom are seeking employment opportunities online. Additionally, almost 700 teens and preteens have come to do homework, social networking and online games. We are privileged to provide an important service to residents in this needy neighborhood who don’t own computers or have in-home Internet.

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Interns from the Cristo Rey Kansas City assist daily in our programs

This school year, we have been serving as a site for the Corporate Work Study Program of Cristo Rey Kansas City. It is a Catholic high school that serves under resourced urban core students. These interns are learning valuable work skills as they assist in tutoring people who come to our community technology center and get involved with PC refurbishing and other aspects of our operations.

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Everet Leimer works in our PC refurbishing shop at 2006 N 3rd Street

In September we finalized the consolidation of our PC refurbishing operations to our Kansas City KS center. The workshop is now producing about 200 high quality, Internet-ready computers a month. 80% of them have gone to low income families and 20% have gone to cash-strapped nonprofit organizations.  We are providing low cost computers to people in our community and at the same time these efforts produce about 40% of our operating revenue.

We need your contributions to continue our work to get more KC residents online. Won’t you help?




 

 

 

04. October 2014 by Michael Liimatta

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