YMCA of Greater Kansas City (Linwood Y) Receives $50,000 Grant from T-Mobile HQ Giving Program

The YMCA of Greater Kansas City (Linwood Y) recently received a grant for $50,000 from the T-Mobile HQ Giving Program to address the digital divide.

The YMCA will utilize funding to enhance and expand access to technology and digital skill acquisition through the Linwood Tech Center. The grant enables the YMCA to serve as a vital resource for the community, offering a Tech Center open to teens during youth programming and to adult Y members needing internet access and digital literacy skills. The grant covers the cost of contractual staffing needed to expand the hours of this space and to support the robotics and STEAM enrichment efforts led by the Y’s youth program coordinator. Additionally, the funds will support the purchase of curriculum, supplies, and updated technology for the Tech Center.

Recognizing the impact of the digital divide on health outcomes, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Linwood Y has been a steadfast resource for community members who lack consistent broadband access. The success of the Y Virtual Learning Academies during the pandemic laid the foundation for creating a dedicated Tech Center space within the facility, formally inaugurated in 2022. This space will play a pivotal role in the continuum of youth development programming, benefiting approximately 400 youth annually, with a special focus on the 125 older youth (grades 6-12) engaged in the Launch Pad out-of-school program. By enhancing the Launch Pad framework with a focus on STEAM, the Y aims to provide youth with essential digital skills and opportunities for career exploration, mentorship, and workforce development. This initiative aligns seamlessly with the Kansas City Digital Equity Strategic Plan, aiming to tackle the digital divide prevalent in the 64128 zip code of Kansas City, characterized by high poverty, low educational attainment, and limited broadband access.

The grant will increase access for members of the community to the Linwood Y’s Tech Center for people of all ages, increasing the hours the Tech Center is staffed.  In addition, this space offers enhancements to the Y’s youth development initiatives, including but not limited to daily Launch Pad drop-in out-of-school programming, twice-weekly robotics lessons, and weekly rotations of clubs focused on 21st-century skills. This forward-thinking approach empowers youth with the digital and STEAM skills necessary for post-secondary success. The Linwood Y plans to measure the success of the program against targeted goals to increase broadband access and to provide STEAM-infused youth development programming designed to learn and practice digital skills.

The Linwood Y has a history of responding to community needs, aligning with the organization’s pillars of focus: healthy living, youth development, and social responsibility. As the Linwood Y continues to fulfill its mission of social responsibility, the impact of this grant will extend beyond immediate programming, contributing to the long-term well-being and opportunities for the residents of the community.

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