• By Todd Luck
  • Posted Monday, September 19, 2022

Local partnership gives free Chromebooks to kids who lack digital access

A community partnership gave children without digital access in their homes refurbished Chromebooks on Sept. 17 at the Central Library.

Forsyth County Public Library hosted an event by DigitalTech Connect, which is a partnership between Forsyth County Digital Equity and WinstonNet that gave 14 free Chromebooks, donated by AT&T, to children ages 6-10 who live in Forsyth County and lack digital access in their homes. When families picked them up, they were also given a training session on how to use the Chromebooks by Forsyth County Library staff, along with information on how to receive assistance in paying for high-speed internet through the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program.

The families also heard from Annette Taylor, director of the NC Office of Digital Equity and Literacy, who attended the event and met with Forsyth County Digital Equity discuss local effort to expand digital access.

“The internet should not be a privilege," she told attendees.

The recipients will be chosen from application forms that were distributed at Forsyth County libraries. The goal of the project is to bridge the digital divide and ensure residents have access to high-speed internet.

"Technology touches everyone, everywhere and economic and social inequality limits digital equality,” said WinstonNet CEO Lakisha Jordan. ”WinstonNet and Forsyth County Digital Equity understand that in order to take advantage of the possibilities the Internet affords, people need adequate Internet-enabled devices; access to affordable and robust high-speed Internet services; the skills to utilize these devices effectively; quality technical support; and access to applications and online content designed to improve and enhance their lives."

Library Director Brian Hart said that Forsyth County Public Library has a longstanding commitment to closing the digital divide with public access computers at all library locations and free classes on a variety of technology through the library's Computer Training Bridge.

"The library is particularly excited at the chance to participate in the DigitalTech Connect program," Hart said. "We're happy to support children and their families who will receive their free Chromebooks, and we feel certain that these efforts will bring positive change to the children and others in their household."

About WinstonNet

For over 20 years WinstonNet has been working to close the digital divide and is a leading advocate for Digital Equity and Digital Inclusion in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. It is a community nonprofit partnering with many of the area's major academic, public, community, and private institutions to coordinate resources that strengthen the services and educational quality of our community computer centers to help prepare the workforce for the next generation of network-based computer technologies. Learn more at https://www.winstonnet.org/.

About Forsyth County Digital Equity

Forsyth County Digital Equity is a collaborative of representatives from Forsyth County's public and private sector that is working to ensure that all Forsyth County residents have the knowledge, skills, training, and financial wherewithal to take advantage of the benefits that access to high-speed internet and internet enabled devices afford. Learn more at www.fcdigitalequity.org

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