LOS ANGELES, Oct. 25, 2017 — Hundreds of South Los Angeles children will now have access to high-speed Internet for homework and educational purposes thanks to a new partnership between Bel Air Internet, a Southern California-based Internet provider, and the Newton LAPD Community Youth Activities League (C.Y.A.L) program, just the first step in Bel Air Internet’s larger goal in bridging the digital divide for children throughout underserved parts of Los Angeles.
The LAPD C.Y.A.L. Program provides safe, supervised after-school educational and recreational activities for children in their neighborhoods. Bel Air Internet has donated much-needed high-speed Internet for the Newton Division C.Y.A.L. program’s two community centers, both of which service hundreds of children after school each week.
While the C.Y.A.L. center at the Newton police station had 40 working laptops, there was only enough broadband for two of them to access the Internet at a time. With the new high-speed Internet service donated by Bel Air Internet both there and at the Alba Recreational Center, students at these C.Y.A.L centers can now more effectively use the Internet to complete assignments and perform research projects, as well as to utilize educational software to learn vital reading and math skills. Adults in the community will also have the opportunity to use the Internet to complete ESL coursework and learn valuable tech skills.
“Finally, we get this here,” said C.Y.A.L. Program Coordinator Gerardo Gomez. “It gives the kids an opportunity to work on their homework…Most of the kids here cannot afford Internet at home.”
The partnership came together with the assistance of Councilman Curren D. Price, Jr., who was aware of the need for broadband in his community. When he met with Terry Koosed, the CEO of Bel Air Internet, who was actively looking for ways to help bridge the “digital divide” among underserved children throughout the city, Councilman Price immediately pointed them to the Newton Division C.Y.A.L. program in his district.
Christopher Zuniga, a young C.Y.A.L. participant, was excited at the prospect of being able to use the Internet to research items for his homework. “I don’t own a computer and I would always have to ask my neighbor to let me borrow his computer. Now I don’t have to.”
Koosed points to the C.Y.A.L. program partnership as a promising first step in his larger goal of bridging the digital divide among the youth of Los Angeles. “Unfortunately, the large Telco’s have all decided it’s not worth it to bring high-speed Internet into certain neighborhoods. By donating high-speed Internet to these centers, we’re hoping to do our part to even the playing field and create a more successful future for these kids. Who knows what genius mind is out there just waiting to be given a fantastic educational opportunity?”
Bel Air Internet is in the process of donating high-speed Internet to several more community centers in need, with a goal of lighting up Internet for 5000 underserved Los Angeles children by the end of year.