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January 16, 2007

IBM and United Way Focus Efforts to Tackle the Digital Divide

January 16, 2007

Media Contact: Michelle Wade, 203.772.2010, Ext.202

Over $14 Thousand in Computers Donated to Area Programs

What do these people have in common?

· Emotionally challenged/learning disabled youth
· Homeless individuals in an emergency shelter
· Older adult Experience Corps volunteers
· Youth in the juvenile justice system
· Foster care children
· New Parents

All of these individuals have recently been touched by technology.

United Way of Greater New Haven, in partnership with IBM, has granted 9 computer systems to local programs primarily benefiting children Pre-K through grade 12. The donation, valued at over $14 thousand, was made to various public education, adult/family literacy and workforce development programs in the area. The systems include age-appropriate software to enrich computer literacy as well as reading and math skills.

“Both economic and educational disparities are our region’s greatest challenges,” said Jack Healy, President and CEO, United Way of Greater New Haven. “The digital divide is directly related to both of these challenges so IBM’s gift is extremely meaningful to our region in particular. The technology will help with reading, writing and math deficits while teaching digital literacy—maybe the single most important skill in today’s world.”

Among the organizations awarded with the computer systems were Hamden’s Partnership for Young Children (formerly the Hamden School Readiness Council), Agency on Aging of South Central Connecticut, Children’s Community Programs of CT, Inc., Fair Haven Community Health Center, Emergency Shelter Management Service and Youth Continuum, Inc.

“The technology that we’ve received from United Way and IBM is used to facilitate parent education, play groups for children birth to five, training and support for home and center-based childcare providers, access to school-readiness information, child care referrals, adult education referrals and ongoing parenting support groups,” said LuAnn Gallicchio, Family Resource Center Coordinator, Hamden’s Partnership for Young Children. “It’s amazing what just one IBM Young Explorer Computer system has done to improve the quality and scope of our organization’s work.”

Children’s Community Programs of CT, Inc. has used their computer system to enhance educational programming for the foster care program and emotionally challenged/learning disabled children age three to six to enhance their school readiness skills. “These populations have traditionally been overlooked where technology is concerned,” said Brian Lynch, Executive Director of Children’s Community Programs of CT, Inc. “Either for economic reasons or doubts about ability, these kids have missed out on a crucial component of education that is necessary to be productive and successful in today’s society—technology. The donated computer allows us to open up a whole new world to these children.”

New parents who take part in Fair Haven Community Health Center’s Well Baby Group (which brings parents together to talk about important health and development milestones in their childrens’ lives) have begun to incorporate the donated technology into their sessions. Meanwhile, the Agency on Aging of South Central CT is using their computer in trainings with older adult volunteers (55+) in Experience Corps (a literacy tutoring program for children in grades K-3) and both Youth Continuum Inc. and Emergency Shelter Management Service are using their technology for professional development and job training skills.

If a picture is worth a thousand words a computer is surely worth a million!

About United Way:
United Way mobilizes the caring power of our community to create measurable, sustainable change and to improve lives. To do this we: help identify our region's greatest needs and best opportunities for change; raise dollars and invest those dollars for results; connect people to their caring through volunteer opportunities.

More information about United Way of Greater New Haven's community leadership and how you can help can be found at www.uwgnh.org.


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