Comcast, Boys & Girls Clubs partner to launch Wi-Fi connected ‘Lift Zones’

Children studying at a Snohomish County Boys & Girls Club. (Photo courtesy Comcast)

Comcast Washington and The Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County (BGCSC) have launched a program to enhance Wi-Fi coverage at 12 Boys & Girls Club locations in Snohomish and Island counties.

In the coming weeks, Comcast will equip 12 Boys & Girls Clubs — including the Alderwood and Edmonds clubs — with robust Wi-Fi coverage — known as Lift Zones — that will help thousands of students get online, participate in distance learning and do their homework.

A program annoncement notes that the COVID-19 crisis has put many low-income students at risk of being left behind and has accelerated the need for comprehensive digital equity and internet adoption programs to support them.

“The Lift Zones are really playing a big part in their futures,” said Marci Volmer, COO of The Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County. “If students are not in school, their school is literally right in front of them on a laptop. And if they can’t log on and actively participate, they are missing out on school.”

According to the program announcement, when schools closed for in-person instruction, the BGCSC made the commitment to remain open to provide a safe and secure place for youth. Without this commitment, many kids would not have access to the technology to attend virtual school.  At the same time, many families relied on the BGCSC for healthy meals during the day.  Since beginning of the pandemic, the BGCSC has served over 1.5 million healthy meals and snacks.

In November, Comcast announced a multi-year program to equip more than 30 different locations in Washington with Wi-Fi Lift Zones over the next few months. Working with its network of nonprofit partners, Comcast is providing Wi-Fi hotspots at safe spaces in King, Snohomish and Spokane Counties that are expected to help thousands of students get online, participate in distance learning and do their homework. Additional Lift Zones sites are currently under consideration for King, Island, Pierce, Snohomish and Spokane counties, with the goal to have all locations installed by early 2021. This initiative provides free connectivity inside partner community centers for the next three years.

“The pandemic has put students at risk of being left behind. There is a need in this community for more programs that connect our kids to the internet so they can successfully participate in distance learning in place of in-person instruction,” said Kevin Harrison, Vice President of Finance & Business Operations, Comcast Washington, and board member for Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County. “I am proud to be able to help connect these clubs with needed internet resources. These new Lift Zones will play an important role in helping local students who, for a variety of reasons, are unable to connect to the internet at home.”

The Alderwood Boys & Girls Club is located at 19719 24th Ave. W. #10, Lynnwood and the Edmonds Club is at 310 6th Ave. N., Edmonds.

 

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