Connecting for Good - 2012 Year End Update
The excitement around the launch of Google Fiber and the pre-registration campaign has given us a unique opportunity to close the Digital Divide in the Kansas City area. We are about to begin a busy and even more exciting year.
Our organization is embarking on an effort to really make an impact by hiring staff, establishing a headquarters, and launching programs in the fiberhoods. As the year 2012 is drawing to a close, I just wanted to share a little more about progress we’ve made at Connecting for Good:
- Phase 1 of the Rosedale Ridge Wi-Fi project went live on December 14. As a result, 400 people who live in this Section 8 housing project are now able to access the Internet for free. Half of them are children under 12 years old. On the day we announced that the network was working, over 20 residents signed up to participate in digital literacy sessions and received a refurbished donated PC.
- We’ve collected donations of over 200 used PCs, several of them from SMCKC members during the November computer drive. The first lot will go to the residents at Rosedale Ridge.
- The initial curriculum for our digital literacy program is in place. Rosedale Ridge is our “proving ground.”
- We’re very excited about the outstanding volunteer team we’ve put together consisting of people from the community, corporate trainers, IT professionals and nonprofit experts.
- On January 1, we will move into our new office/workshop/training center on Westport Road, just a block East of the Google Fiber Space, making us a part of the KC Startup Village. We are looking forward to being a part of Kansas City's emerging tech corridor. Our plans for the space include a workshop for refurbishing and distributing donated computers, a computer lab with workshops and training and our administrative offices.
- We’ve made tremendous connections with government and the business community that will result in hundreds more donated PCs in the coming months. Our plan is to use them with the digital literacy efforts in order to overcome the PC equipment obstacle so more lower income people can sign up for Google Fiber’s $300/7 years of connectivity plan.
- A game plan is now in place that involves working with libraries and community groups ahead of the Google Fiber roll-outs so residents can sign up in our digital literacy experiences – both at our new center and in the neighborhoods through our mobile computing lab.
As we are gearing up for the widespread installations of Googe Fiber, we will do all we can to remove the hardware and digital literacy barriers so that as many people as possible in under served areas of Kansas City will be able to take advantage of their service. Our new space also allows us to create opportunities to get more people interested and involved in technology for the sake of career development. It would be great if we could, over the next few years, create an "urban geek" culture where becoming an IT professional would be seen as a career path as popular as being a hip hop star or professional athlete.
We also have more opportunities to bring Wi-Fi connectivity to public housing projects where Google Fiber is not an option.
We are tremendously grateful to the Social Media Club of Kansas City for your continued interest and generous support. Together, we will make a difference on thousands of lives in our community in the coming year!