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Several WNY students received computer donations to close the digital divide

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — Several local public school students have received computer donations from several organizations to help bridge the digital divide among under-resourced students in Western New York.

At least 70 students have the opportunity to have their own computer.

“I’m excited that I don’t have a computer myself, and I’m going to put it to good use,” said 8th grader Narya Horn.

Most of these students are part of Western New York’s United Leaders Summer Program and come from four regional school districts: Buffalo, Frontier, Maryvale, and Lakeshore School Districts.

“This program does not end after four weeks,” said Executive Director Beth Anzalone of WNY United. “Our prevention specialist will meet with these students over the next two years to continue their leadership journey.”

This initiative hopes to bridge the digital and homework gap with the help of Mission Ignite and others, with the support of AT&T.

“We through COVID are experiencing a lot of gaps and students in their homes, and so AT&T stepped up to the podium to solve that issue,” said Executive Director Christine Carr-Barmasse of Mission Ignite.

Some of these students are headed to Hutchinson Technical High School, where their computers will help give them a head start in learning computer engineering.

“I’m going to Hutch tech, and I’m going to engineering, and I want to do computer engineering and want to assemble it and code it with my own ability,” Narya Horn said. “There are many things you can do, for example art, computer engineering, and coding, many different fields of work with this tiny little computer, and I want to say that I am very grateful,” said 8th grader Mohammad Tamal .

AT&T’s director of external affairs, Kevin Hanna, says across the US, millions of children struggle with virtual and digital learning because of poor connectivity at home.

He said he was committed to breaking down barriers.

“Our mission is part of AT&T’s three-year, two-billion-dollar commitment to bridge the digital divide in the homework gap,” Hanna said. “Projects like this help bridge the digital gap by providing underserved residents with digital resources.”

Hanna said AT&T expects to provide computers to students in Western New York in the next year and a half with the help of Mission Ignite and other partners.

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