Written by Alex Streitz
On August 20th, Comcast came to Conway to meet with TSF and the children of the community in order to announce the expansion of their Internet Essentials program in public schools and libraries, as well as give away laptops to all the families in attendance and backpacks to each of the kids. This is a heart-warming occurrence even at surface value, but what lies underneath is what is integral to TSF’s philosophy: It is about serving the youth.
Leading the charge for the event was Steve White, President West Division of Comcast Cable. Before announcing the surprise giveaway to the youth, he shared the story of his own upbringing – a child to a single mother who worked hard to make ends meet. Also in attendance were Ward 7 St. Paul Council-member Jane Prince, Dr. Joe Gothard, superintendent of St. Paul Public Schools and Catherine Penkert, St. Paul library director.
The internet essentials program that Comcast offers is an internet literacy program for kids that they can access at school or at a library. It teaches kids everything they need to know to thrive in the digital age and be better equipped with internet skills for their future education. This is why TSF is getting involved. They see action being taken to advance youth, and to service those who might not otherwise have the means to learn these skills. The computer and backpack donations are a very generous and nice gesture, but it is even more than that to us at TSF. They are giving these kids and their families the tools to learn, to simply be able to go to school prepared and come home and complete any piece of homework or online task asked of them. It is now possible for these students and their families to feel secure in knowing that they have what they need to succeed in this modern age, and to not feel set back in the child’s educational opportunities.
The impact of the event and partnership could be seen in the faces of all the kids in that gym on August 20th. You see them light up as the backpacks are revealed, and hear giddy laughs as the laptops are passed out. Tony smiled assuredly knowing that the local community that he cherishes is getting something out of these events. It isn’t about looking good as a PR stunt, it is about those moments when you know you are positively impacting families’ and youths’ lives.