Tech donations boost a nonprofit organization that provides educational programs for Hispanic residents in northeast Mississippi.
El Centro in Tupelo is getting three years of free internet and a $50,000 grant from AT&T and 15 computers from Dell Technologies, the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reported.
“It opens up a lot more possibilities for us and allows us to say to the community, ‘Anything you need, we can provide,'” El Centro manager Allen Bradford said of the donation on Thursday.
El Centro began in 2006. It offers free after-school classes and services, adult English classes, and workshops on topics relevant to the community.
The computers were accompanied by a free digital learning platform, free digital literacy courses and workshops created with the Public Library Association.
El Centro becomes one of more than 20 connected learning centers AT&T is opening nationwide. The company created its connected learning program in response to COVID-19 and the need to bridge the digital divide, said AT&T Mississippi President Mayo Flynt.
“We think this kind of infrastructure will be able to help … volunteers in their after-school mentoring and educational endeavors,” Flynt said.
El Centro helps K-6 students with homework because it can be difficult for students growing up in bilingual homes and communities, Bradford said. During the pandemic, some have fallen behind when learning at home.
“I am excited for our children. They’re eager to learn, they’re brilliant,” Bradford said. “However, our school system is not really designed to (be) bilingual. . . so it excites us to think that we are helping them on this side with education.
The Tupelo Public School District provides teachers for the tutoring program. Through the Early Childhood Coalition, El Centro has a reading program for its K-5 students.