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Comcast and One Economy Honor Latin American Youth Center Students Graduating from Comcast Digital Connectors Program

Jun 30, 2010 (12:06 PM EDT)
URL: http://www.techweb.com/show-press-release/X809978/comcast-and-one-economy-honor-latin-american-youth-center-students-graduating-from-comcast-digital-connectors-program.html

Innovative Program Teaches Washington, D.C. Area Youth Digital Literacy and Leadership Skills

WASHINGTON, June 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Comcast and One Economy recently recognized a class of 17 graduates from the Comcast Digital Connectors program in Washington, D.C. at a special ceremony held on Friday, June 11 at the Latin American Youth Center (LAYC).  The Comcast Digital Connectors program in Washington, D.C., which launched in July of 2009, provided LAYC youth from diverse, low-income backgrounds with an opportunity to learn about broadband technologies and how to put that knowledge to work in a wide range of community service activities.  

Among those celebrating the accomplishments of the graduates at the event were LAYC and Comcast leaders and staff, representatives from One Economy, parents and family members of the Digital Connectors graduates and members of the greater LAYC community.  In addition to certificates of recognition, each student received a netbook computer and flip camera.

"One Economy believes that by delivering the power of technology and information to low-income people we can help build better lives," said Karla Ballard, vice president of social innovations for One Economy.  "Our partnership with Comcast for the Digital Connectors program is helping us to deliver upon that mission by providing youth with access to the tools and skills needed to achieve their full potential and to serve as technology ambassadors throughout their communities."

"The Digital Connectors program is an important initiative for Comcast as we continue to seek out opportunities to educate young people about civic engagement and instill in them the leadership and technology skills that are so essential to their futures," said Fred Graffam, regional senior vice president of Comcast.  "We are proud to honor these students for their initiative and commitment."  

"The Comcast Digital Connectors program has not only supplied our students with resources to help them succeed in a digital workforce, but has given them the confidence to share what they've learned with their neighbors, friends and families," said Lori Kaplan, executive director of LAYC.  "The Comcast Digital Connectors program has made a tremendous impact on its young participants and the community overall. We are grateful to Comcast and One Economy for helping us provide young people in D.C. a chance to improve the quality of life for themselves and those around them through digital education and look forward to our continued partnership."

The Comcast Digital Connectors program in Washington, D.C. took place during after-school hours and students could choose to participate in either the Technology Group or Media Group.  As part of the program, participants also volunteered their time at community-based organizations, senior centers, churches and even in their own homes to help improve digital literacy.  

The Technology Group had eight LAYC student graduates and focused on learning to work with software and hardware.  Activities included leadership exercises and computer technology classes that involved Microsoft Office Certification, web design, computer repair fundamentals, video editing, photography and more.  Participants also attended a tour of the U.S. Capitol, participated in workshops, helped to build the Computer Lab at the LAYC Teen Center, taught computer classes in their local communities and participated in Comcast Cares Day, the company's annual, nationwide day of service.

The Media Group had nine LAYC student graduates and focused on using media and broadband technology to make a positive impact in the community.  Activities included leadership and teamwork skills development; an introduction to digital media fundamentals including video, audio, photography, graphic manipulation and blogging; and extensive exploration of media and technology's impact on the community and the concept of socially engaged media.  Participants shared their media skills with other local students and produced an hour-long bilingual radio special about teens and drug abuse as well as an official video submission to the Human Rights Film Festival.  Five of the students were selected to receive the Eric Moe Scholarship to attend the Mountainfilm Festival in recognition of their commitment to socially engaged media making.

One Economy founded the Digital Connectors' program and curriculum in 2003. Today there are youth engaged in Digital Connectors programs throughout the United States as well as similar digital literacy initiatives in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Kenya, Cameroon and Nigeria. The One Economy-Comcast partnership aims to double the number of participants in the program and the hours of service they contribute to their communities.

In addition to Washington D.C., the Comcast Digital Connectors program was launched in Houston, Texas; Springfield, Massachusetts; Morgantown, West Virginia; Burlington, Vermont; Tallahassee, Florida and Miami, Florida.  Other sites expected to kick off by the end of 2010 include:  West Palm Beach, Florida; Lauderhill, Florida; Hanford, California; Dearborn, Michigan; Denver, Colorado; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Atlanta, Georgia; Tacoma, Washington; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Chicago, Illinois; Portland, Oregon; and others to be determined.

In each location, groups of young people, ages 14 to 21 from diverse, low-income backgrounds will learn digital literacy skills over one year in both after-school and summer training programs. The curriculum for the Comcast Digital Connectors program is designed to introduce core leadership values and life management skills, teach basic and advanced digital literacy skills, and expose youth to post-secondary and career choices.

Comcast powers dreams in the communities it serves by providing access to innovative technology, volunteering time, giving financial support and partnering with organizations to make its communities stronger. Comcast focuses its community investment initiatives on building tomorrow's leaders, promoting community service and expanding digital literacy. Since 2001, Comcast has provided $1.8 billion in cash and in-kind support to national and local non-profit organizations across the country through its community investment program (http://www.comcast.com/inthecommunity).

About Comcast

Comcast Corporation (www.comcast.com) is one of the nation's leading providers of entertainment, information and communication products and services. With 23.5 million cable customers, 16.3 million high-speed Internet customers, and 7.9 million Comcast Digital Voice customers, Comcast is principally involved in the development, management and operation of cable systems and in the delivery of programming content.

Comcast's Eastern Division serves approximately 5.7 million residential and business customers across Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C. The Eastern Division is based in Oaks, Pennsylvania and employs more than 20,000 people.

About the Comcast Foundation

The Comcast Foundation was founded by Comcast Corporation in June 1999 to provide charitable support to qualified non-profit organizations. The Foundation primarily invests in programs intended to have a positive, sustainable impact on their communities.  The Foundation's focus areas are volunteerism, literacy, and youth leadership development.  Since its inception, the Comcast Foundation has donated more than $77 million to organizations in the communities nationwide that Comcast serves.  More information about the Foundation and its programs is available at www.comcast.com/InTheCommunity.  

About One Economy

One Economy is a global non-profit organization that uses innovative approaches to deliver the power of technology and information to low-income people. More than 17 million people have used One Economy's online tools and resources including public-purpose media at www.pic.tv to build better lives. Learn more at www.one-economy.com. To date, One Economy has launched on-the-ground programs in 42 U.S. states, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.

SOURCE Comcast Corporation