The internet is an increasingly important part of our daily lives. Technology allows us to not only connect with each other, but it provides access to education and learning resources, health information, assistance programs, employment and other critical online resources. For those in underserved communities, not having a computer oftentimes means not having access to important assistance and services.
To help bridge that gap, UnitedHealthcare recently donated laptop computers to two San Diego nonprofit organizations: Interfaith Community Services and Alliance for African Assistance. Through the Community Computers Program, UnitedHealthcare donates equipment to create computer labs inside local organizations, enabling them to provide internet access to people in these underserved communities.
James Howe, 31, is one of the people who will benefit from the new computers. A new father, who is also homeless, James is trying to rebuild himself by searching for work at Interfaith's Carlsbad Service Center. He comes to the center up to four days per week to search for jobs and check email for any responses from potential employers.
"Having a computer that functions well will really make a difference," James said. "I'd really like to have a good life and get to a place where I have a good job and can provide for my baby."
Computers donated to the Alliance for African Assistance, which helps support refugees and immigrants, plus the economically challenged and underserved, will assist with the organization’s various social programs, such as resettlement and placement, English as a second language, as well as job and employment assistance.
Mahmud Sabri is a refugee from Iraq who fled to Syria, then Egypt and finally to the United States. A software developer and a single father to 13-year-old twin daughters, Mahmud is grateful for the new computers, which he will use on a daily basis to find employment opportunities.
“I am trying to work and look after my daughters at the same time,” Mahmud said.
His daughters and other students, who do not have a computer at home, will also be able to use the computer lab to research and finish their homework.
As part of its commitment to local communities, UnitedHealthcare’s Community Computers Program has donated more than 270 computers to local nonprofit organizations across the country over the last three years.