USF Computer Donation to MEDA will Help Bridge the Digital Divide

2138-03242016_WFD-USF Computer Donation Social Media_blog_v2_640x295pxIt takes a big effort to bridge the digital divide in the low-income community. It takes a strategy for community outreach. It takes a team of staff and volunteers to teach the classes.

It also takes computers.

That’s why the recent in-kind donation of 50 PC desktops and two projectors from the University of San Francisco (USF) will take MEDA’s Digital Opportunity Center up a notch. A big notch.

It seems USF was retiring some computers, but they were still in fine shape and could be put to use. Former MEDA intern and current USF student, Karen Cerda-Segura (Class of ’16), mentioned the program earlier this year. Then Workforce Development Program Manager Orrian Willis received an email from USF’s Office of Diversity Engagement and Community Outreach, informing him of the opportunity.

So MEDA Development Officer Alberto Galindo reached out to his alma mater to see if Plaza Adelante could be the new home for these computing devices. Included was a much-appreciated letter of support from Jason Wilkinson, who had partnered with the USF School of Management’s Leadership Project, which paired a group of MBA candidates with MEDA’s Mission Techies program. This free young adult program puts 17- to 24-year-olds on the path to a career in tech.

“Having attended USF, I knew that the university is defined by the Jesuit tradition of social justice and commitment to service-learning. These values are also shared by MEDA, as we also work toward creating a more humane and just world through our commitment to equity and inclusion. These values are exemplified through MEDA’s free programs that empower underrepresented communities to become financially self-sufficient,” states Galindo.

Besides replacing the aging computer’s in the Digital Opportunity Center at Plaza Adelante, MEDA’s free Mission Techies program will use some of the devices. These young adults will now use the equipment to optimize their learning while part of the program.

Leo Sosa, technology training coordinator, sees the need to bridge the digital divide every day. He knows how important this donation is to the low-income community. His day-to-day experience is backed up by a Mission Promise Neighborhood Survey (page 23) which uncovered the startling fact that 46 percent of families did not have a home computer with internet access.

This is the tech center of the word: San Francisco. This in the center of the tech center of the word: the Mission.

Explains Sosa of the need: “Many of our clients do not have access to a computing device at home. Others need training on how to use a computer. Having better equipment will streamline this learning process and create a more enjoyable experience for our clients. MEDA cannot thank USF enough for their generous donation.”



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