Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston and Comcast have joined forces to equip 10 of the nonprofit’s Clubs in the Houston area, and its headquarters, with Wi-Fi connected “Lift Zones” to enable children and teens to fully participate in educational opportunities and the digital economy. Comcast is providing robust Wi-Fi hotspots in safe spaces designed to help lower income students get online, participate in distance learning and do their homework. Installation began last week.
The “Lift Zones” initiative kicked off in December with nine City of Houston Community Centers becoming the recipients of Wi-Fi connectivity for the next three years. Free Wi-Fi provided by Comcast allows Boys & Girls Clubs members and students in these community centers to work on laptops simultaneously so they can successfully participate in distance learning.
“Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston is thrilled to partner with Comcast to help bridge the digital divide in our community, which disproportionately affects the children and families we serve,” says Kevin Hattery, President and CEO. “Quality internet access is vitally important in the educational process, especially with so many students involved in distance learning due to the ongoing global pandemic. This initiative will make significant progress in achieving parity among the population we serve, so they are able to stay current with schoolwork, research and enrichment activities and not fall further behind.”
“We are proud to partner with community organizations across the Houston Region and equip them with free internet service and the digital training skills that will provide kids with safe, fast and reliable connectivity to keep up with school and prepare for a brighter future,” said Melinda Little, director of government affairs, Comcast Houston. “The COVID-19 crisis continues to put many low-income students at risk of being left behind, accelerating the need for comprehensive digital equity and Internet adoption programs to support them. We hope these Lift Zones will help those students who, for a variety of reasons, are unable to connect to effective distance learning at home.”
Participating Boys & Girls Clubs “Lift Zone” sites include:
- Johnny Mitchell Club in Galveston
- John & Cissy Havard Club
- Houston Texans Teen Club
- Allen Parkway Club
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston headquarters
- Fort Bend Club
- Mission Bend Club
- Spring Branch Club
- Jim & Barbara Morefield Club
- Richmond-Rosenberg Club
- Stafford Club
In the wake of the pandemic, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston has continually adapted its model to meet the needs of Club members and parents in innovative ways, including virtual programming, Blue Learning Labs for distance learning during school shutdowns and the On Demand Experience, with interactive, experiential learning. Club members have gotten help to keep them on track academically and to stay active through caring mentors who assist them with processing the many adjustments brought on by COVID.
Earlier this year, Comcast announced a multiyear program to launch more than 1,000 Wi-Fi-connected Lift Zones in community centers nationwide. This effort complements Comcast’s Internet Essentials program, which has helped connect more than eight million low-income people to the internet at home, including more than 600,000 Houstonians.
To learn more about Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston, please visit www.bgcgh.org.