Ashbury Community Center celebrates new AT&T Learning Center with block party and free computers

In March, when AT&T opened its second Cleveland Connected Learning Center in Glenville Ashbury Senior Computing Community Center (ASC3), the objective was to fulfill the objectives of ASC3 mission is Bridging the digital divide in Cleveland’s underserved neighborhoods by meeting the technology needs of mature and older adults with limited income through education, resources, and training through technology literacy and technology access.

A neighbor brings a laptop home after a block partyASC3 Founder and Executive Director Wanda Davis also saw the partnership with AT&T as another way for older residents in the Glenville neighborhood to improve their computer literacy and easily connect to the Internet.

Davis, who started ASC3 more than 20 years ago to help bridge the digital divide among Glenville seniors and bring connectivity to everyone in the neighborhood, hoped that when the AT&T Connected Learning Center opened on 3 march to ASC3, Glenville was one step closer to bridging that digital divide.

On Saturday, April 30, AT&T and ASC3 hosted a block party at the center, 11011 Ashbury Ave. The party focused on broadband affordability, availability and adoption to meet residents’ needs for high-speed Internet access at home.

The event had a good turnout, with area residents coming to ASC3 to learn more about eligibility for free internet service by combining the $30 per month from the new federal law Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) with AT&T’s $30 Access Plan, which offers internet speeds of up to 100 Mbps.

“Making home internet affordable for low-income households is an important step toward closing the digital divide,” said Molly Kocour Boyle, president of AT&T Ohio. “AT&T’s Access Plan works in concert with the ACP Federal Advantage. A free Internet service can make the difference in doing homework, being able to apply for a job or receiving medical care.

After learning about affordable internet packages, block party attendees enjoyed a food truck offering burgers and other lunch items, a video game truck, and face paint. The neighbors socialized by line dancing with a DJ.

CTC Neighborhood Party DanceAs part of the AT&T Connected Learning initiative, this year the The NBA Cares provides 500 refurbished computers to underserved families in Cleveland. At the block party, AT&T began giving away the laptops to families who requested one.

In December, AT&T opened its first Connected Learning Center in Ohio at Esperanza, Inc. in Clark Fulton. In September, the company launched the program nationwide with its first Connected Learning Center in Dallas, where AT&T is headquartered.

Esperanza Executive Director Victor Ruiz addressed attendees and Boyle at the opening of the Esperanza Center, commenting on the traffic he has seen since the Connected Learning Center opened in Esperanza.

“The amount of traffic we get, people [are] just walk in or make appointments,” Ruiz told the group. “Everything from resume writing to taking online classes has been not only amazing, but transformative for our center and has opened our eyes and imaginations to what else we can do. So. Thank you for And together, as we, each of us, take these steps, it’s another step towards closing the digital divide.

AT&T has expanded its fiber network to nearly 300 homes in the Glenville area and will continue to invest to bring fiber and connectivity to the Cleveland area.

From 2018 to 2020, AT&T expanded coverage and improved connectivity with an investment of nearly $350 million in wireless and wireline networks in the Cleveland metro area.

Earlier this year, the company announced that it would open 20 Connected Learning Centers across the country as part of its Connected learning program—as part of a three-year program $2 billion commitment to bridge the digital divide through efforts that promote affordability, accessibility, and adoption of broadband— and Cleveland would be one of the first eight cities to get a center.

Jill E. Washington