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Florence Crittenton Teen Moms Connect To The Internet At Home

On February 10, 2017, every Florence Crittenton Services teen mother currently enrolled in school received a refurbished laptop and access to the internet at home. These technology tools were underwritten by a generous donation from Colleen Abdoulah, past…

February 15, 2017
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Julia Goodman
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Around Campus
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On February 10, 2017, every Florence Crittenton Services teen mother currently enrolled in school received a refurbished laptop and access to the internet at home. These technology tools were underwritten by a generous donation from Colleen Abdoulah, past Chair/President of WOW! Internet, Cable and Phone. Florence Crittenton Services partnered with two nonprofit organizations on this project:  PCs for People for the laptops, and Mobile Beacon for the internet hot spots. 

 

Julie Seltz, Executive Director of PC for People, stated “by distributing computers and internet access to the young mothers at Florence Crittenton Services, we are closing the Digital Divide of their more affluent peers, and providing tools for the young women to complete their assignments at home and become productive members of the community. The equipment is sourced from companies and institutions that upgrade their computer systems and recycle old equipment.”

For students who live in poverty, their ability to succeed in their education is impaired by two technology issues: 

 

The “Homework Gap” is the disparity in school children’s access to the modern web outside of school.

• 60% of students use their smart phone to access the Internet, but nearly 80% of Hispanic students who don’t have regular access to a computer at home use their smart phones to access the Internet. 

• Hispanics and African-Americans are mostly likely to use a smart phone to complete a homework assignment. 

• 50% of all students are unable to complete a homework assignment because they don’t have access to the Internet or a computer.

• 42% of students feel they receive a lower grade on an assignment because they don’t have access to the Internet. 

 

The “Digital Divide” is the gap between those who are connected to high-speed Internet at home and those who are not.  The most significant reason is a complex mix of digital literacy issues regarding a perceived lack of relevance of the Internet, fear, and a lack of understanding about its value or usefulness. The other two barriers are the cost of having a home computer and the cost of the Internet service.

 

The teen mothers, children, and family members served by Florence Crittenton Services are the same groups that are disadvantaged by the “Homework Gap” and the “Digital Divide”:

 

• 92% self-identified as youth of color: Hispanic (82%)

• 91% qualify for free and reduced meals, 52% are food insecure, 58% lack stable housing

• 73% of young moms have one or two parents who did not graduate high school, and 55% are the children of teen mothers.