In an ongoing endeavor to bridge the digital divide, Comcast announced its donation of 70 new laptops to Holland-area students and Latin Americans United for Progress (LAUP). In a spirited event held at LAUP on September 5 to celebrate the start of its ¡Adelante! youth program, Comcast surprised 40 students in grades 8-11 who are enrolled in the 2023-24 ¡Adelante! Cohort with laptops. This week, 15 more laptops will be gifted to the 15 12th-grade students participating in the ¡Más Adelante! youth program.
An additional 15 laptops have been donated to LAUP to amplify its programming and Comcast Lift Zone, which provides the Holland community with free Wi-Fi in a safe space to help students, families and community members complete schoolwork, search for jobs and access healthcare information and public assistance.
Michelle Gilbert, vice president of public relations, Comcast Cable Heartland Region, presented the laptops to the students and their families with LAUP executive director Johnny Rodriguez. Both emphasized their mutual commitment to bridge the digital divide.
“We are passionately dedicated to fostering digital inclusivity,” said Gilbert. “In an age where connectivity is essential, it’s crucial that economic circumstances don’t stand in the way of access. “From virtual learning and working from home to telehealth and job opportunities, the internet has become a vital lifeline. Our commitment is to ensure that everyone, regardless of their financial situation, has every opportunity to thrive in this digital era.”
According to Comcast, 96% of Americans have the potential for broadband service, but only 77% have subscribed. The donation of the laptops and construction of LAUP’s Lift Zone are part of Comcast’s Project UP, a $1 billion initiative to advance digital equity, connect people to the Internet, advance economic mobility and open doors for the next generation of innovators, entrepreneurs, storytellers and creators.
The gifted laptops from Comcast align with LAUP’s long-standing mission of ensuring digital equity within Holland’s Latino community. The nonprofit’s digital equity efforts give young people the educational support and tools they need to engage in learning. LAUP’s programming also ensures all community members have resources like fully online ESL digital literacy course and online banking.
In a community where Latinos make up around 30% of the City of Holland, efforts to bridge the digital divide can make an impactful difference for residents.
“The Holland community is deeply enriched by the vibrant Latino culture and history that spans nearly a century and a half. Actions like these aren’t just generous gestures, they’re transformative pillars. They anchor our commitment to nurturing and uplifting each generation, ensuring that our community’s legacy is preserved and empowered with modern tools and opportunities,” said Rodriguez. “By bridging the digital divide, we’re not just providing technology, we’re paving the way for generational growth, education and advancement.”
Comcast team members were onsite at Wednesday’s celebration to assist families in signing up for the federal government’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which provides a $30 discount on home internet service.
When paired with the ACP, Comcast’s Internet Essentials Plus service package, customers can potentially receive their internet service at zero cost. Households with income constraints can also use the ACP credit to offset their mobile service costs.