At Microsoft, we talk a lot about the power of technology to transform people’s lives and expand their opportunities. This morning, I had the pleasure of witnessing that power first-hand while attending a celebration of the Clay Street Computer Learning Center’s 10 years of service to a low-income neighborhood in Annapolis, Md.
Stocked with computers and educational software for all ages , the Clay Street Center offers an after-school program that gives the neighborhood’s kids a place to get help with their homework and to use, and learn more about, computers and the Internet. During the summer months, the Center brings kids into the lab as part of an ongoing program that enables them to keep and build their computer skills when school is not in session. And during the fall and winter, the Clay Street Center offers participants a hot meal.
I was particularly moved by seeing Clay Street founder Mary Wolf with Tye Curtis, one of the Center’s summer workers and a graduate of the center. As a young man, Tye helped Mary set up the computers in the Clay Street Center and visited for many years, taking advantage of the safe and nurturing environment it provided. This December, Tye expects to graduate from Southern University in Louisiana with a degree in computer science.
Another young man I met today was Tim Boston, also a former Clay Street student. Tim graduated fromBowie State University in Maryland this past May. It was an honor to meet both Tye and Tim and hear their inspirational stories on how the computer lab benefited them when they needed it most.
At Microsoft, we believe every child and adult should have access to computers and the educational, social and health benefits they can deliver. That’s why, over the years, we’ve been proud to support the Clay Street Center financially and with donated software through our Unlimited Potential program so that the Clay Street Center will continue to benefit the community long into the future.
What Mary has accomplished here is something that Microsoft hopes will become more widely available in every community throughout the country. Seeing first-hand what is possible when you have dedicated, visionary people like Mary Wolf helping the children of Clay Street, and hearing about the achievements of two remarkable young adults like Tye and Tim, I know there is no more important contribution we can make to society than ensuring broadband and computer access to every child in every school and library in the U.S.
As Congressman John Sarbanes of Maryland said today while at Clay Street, “The scale is small but the impact of what is happening here is large and it is amazing. The success stories of Tim and Tye show me that this lab makes a difference. You see it made a positive difference in Tim and Tye’s lives…That’s what is good for this economy and society.”
“Technology made the difference for these children, for Tim for Tye,” said Mary Wolf. “Microsoft’s contributions and Microsoft believing this is the way to change the lives for these children and by giving them access to computers – that has made all the difference.”
Way to go Mary, and all the workers and students at the Clay Street Computer Learning Center! Thank you for your hard and amazing work. We are honored to support you as you make a difference for Clay Street.