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AT&T supports Loyolaĺs Lindy Boggs Center with $25,000 grant

July 18, 2008

Left to Right: William A. Oliver, Petrice Sams-Abiodun, Loyola President Rev. Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J., Laura Sandford, Joann Moran Cruz.

The Lindy Boggs National Center for Community Literacy at Loyola University New Orleans is the recipient of a $25,000 grant from the AT&T Foundation, the corporate philanthropy organization of AT&T Inc. The grant is part of a competitive $1.5 million national grant program that provides funds for nonprofit organizations through a one-time, education-focused wireless technology grant.

The Boggs Center will use the grant to fund the integration of wireless technology with its Family Literacy Project. People who participate in the project do so in order to increase their literacy skills, to secure employment and to become more productive members of the community. The grant will provide laptop computers equipped with wireless capability and educational software to adult learners.

“Research has demonstrated that adults with low levels of education improve their literacy skills through Web- and wireless-based technology. These tools allow them to work independently and to connect with educational online programs on their own time and in their home environment,” said Petrice Sams-Abiodun, director of the Boggs Center.

“By providing adult learners with the tools to access literacy resources via laptop, we anticipate that they and their family members will tap into vast resources that will accelerate their grasp of literacy and technology knowledge and skills,” said Sams-Abiodun.

Research compiled by the National Adult Literacy Survey finds that the need to address adult literacy in New Orleans has never been more pressing. Results from the study, taken prior to Hurricane Katrina, show that 70 percent of adults in New Orleans read below the 9th grade level and less than 10 percent of those individuals in need of literacy services were actually enrolled in an educational program.

“This program will enable the Boggs Center to transform learning for those most in need by not only addressing literacy skills, but also by responding to the need for marginalized adults and families to have improved access to the benefits of information technology. Teaching adult learners to cross the digital divide will help them and their families join the modern communications revolution,” said Sams-Abiodun.

Grants provided by AT&T’s national wireless grant program range from $2,500 to $25,000 for wireless applications and hardware and were awarded to organizations to help integrate wireless communications technology into educational outreach projects designed to engage youth and adults in lifelong learning. Additionally, each project was required to have a particular focus on targeting underserved populations, including racial and ethnic groups, low-income populations, seniors, youth and people with disabilities.

Only 70 grants were awarded across the country and only two grants were awarded in Louisiana. The other state recipient of an AT&T grant was Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, La.

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