Connected Tennessee Presents Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy With New Printers

Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Shown from left to right, are Connected Tennessee State Operations Manager East Tennessee, Alyson Ferine; students, Carlisha McKenzie and Catalina Francisco; and CGLA Director Dr. Elaine Swafford.
Shown from left to right, are Connected Tennessee State Operations Manager East Tennessee, Alyson Ferine; students, Carlisha McKenzie and Catalina Francisco; and CGLA Director Dr. Elaine Swafford.

Connected Tennessee has donated 10 new printers to the Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy on behalf of the Young Women’s Leadership Academy Foundation. The printers were awarded to the academy on Tuesday, as a part of a donation made by Lexmark International to the Computers 4 Kids (C4K) program. Kentucky-based Lexmark provided a total of 250 printers to the C4K program that were distributed across the state in the last year.

As part of the Computers 4 Kids: Preparing Tennessee’s Next Generation for Success project, the C4K program deploys computers, academic support programs, and workforce training to two disparate, but especially at-risk, populations: those in the state's foster care system who are "aging out" as they turn 18, and youth who are active in the state’s 76 Boys & Girls Clubs. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act-funded program will impact the lives of nearly 60,000 youth across the state throughout the life of the grant – providing a helping hand to youth who are working hard to attain a better life for themselves.

Occasionally, the C4K program will also donate printers to local and state organizations with a focus on empowering and educating youth in the state, such as the Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy and the Young Women’s Leadership Academy Foundation.

The CGLA, led by Director Dr. Elaine Swafford and Dean of Students Maryo Beck, opened in 2009 with 75 students focusing on a college-prep curriculum based on science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM). There are now close to 200 girls in attendance and this spring, CGLA will graduate its first senior class.

“We’re ecstatic that Connected Tennessee thought of CGLA with this generous donation.  Some of our students do not have access to a reliable printer at home,” said Dr. Swafford. “Having this gift in the school will not only encourage our girls to stay after school and get help with homework but also allow them to complete and print it on our campus.” 

In just under five years, the Computers 4 Kids program has:

  • Awarded more than 4,300 computers to youth in need across the state
  • Supported all 76 of the state’s Boys & Girls Clubs
  • Provided computers to more than 3,250 foster youth aging out of the Department of Children’s Services program
  • Allowed the Boys & Girls Clubs in Tennessee youth to complete over 90,000 hours of computer training
  • Impacted all 95 counties in Tennessee

“We are delighted to be able to provide these printers to the Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy,” said Connected Tennessee State Operations Manager Alyson Ferine. “We are appreciative of the opportunity to assist an organization such as the CGLA with this donation so that they are able to continue their commitment to educating young girls and preparing them with the tools necessary to grow into successful women.”

The “Preparing Tennessee’s Next Generation for Success” project is a result of a $2.3 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant awarded to the C4K program in August 2010 by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP). BTOP provides grants to support the deployment of broadband infrastructure, enhance and expand public computer centers, and encourage sustainable adoption of broadband service.

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