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Boys & Girls Clubs Give Chromebooks to Fitness Winners

Boys & Girls Clubs of Springfield, Mass., presented Chromebooks to kids who participated in a fitness challenge by doing push-ups, running, swimming, biking and other activities. They were donated as part of an AT&T initiative to close the digital divide.

(TNS) — Chromebooks were presented to Boys & Girls Clubs of Springfield fitness challenge winners who were active for the past month.

The computers were distributed Tuesday by the club’s executive director, Vincent Borello, local and state officials, and AT&T representatives.

More than 70 members ages six to 13 participated in the challenge by doing push-ups, running, swimming, biking and more.

“I walked and towards the end, I did some running and biking,” said 9-year-old Olivia Johnson. “With my new computer I want to do a PowerPoint for extra credit at school.”

State Rep. Carlos Gonzalez, D-Springfield, said he is a huge fan of the club as he used to be a member and compete as a champion in many sports activities like boxing and pool.

“I support you because you are the future and look at how bright our future looks,” he said. “This is an opportunity to exceed and excel in your education.”

The computers were donated as a bigger part of a $2 billion AT&T initiative to close the digital divide.

“AT&T is essentially a company that provides connectivity and when the opportunity came to donate, the Boys & Girls Clubs was the first community-based program we thought of,” AT&T New England president John Emra said.

“We did the easy part and wrote a check, but you all did the hard work in earning the computers and we are here to support you and all the work you do to support the community,” he said.

The digital divide began in the late 20th century and primarily referred to those with and without telephone access until late 1990 when its definition shifted to high-speed broadband access.

According to Tech Target a 2019 data report suggest that five million rural households and 15.3 million urban areas still do not have broadband access.

Additionally, the divide exists on many fronts including in educational access, socioeconomic groups, access to high speed and quality computers.

“We have about 2,300 kids at the club, and they are all graduating, there is no teen pregnancy and the younger ones are matriculating to their next grade,” said Michael Chernick, chair of the board of directors.

“We provide a safe structure and mentor model,” he said. “People need to know that the Boys & Girls Clubs are a raging success. …It is a flagship. Just look at our clean, well presented beautiful kids.”

“We all (local and state officials) had opportunities here,” Mayor Domenic J. Sarno said. “We sat where you are sitting.”

“They ( AT&T) gave you the computers because they believe in you. They (officials and board members) have not forgotten the opportunities they got here and are back volunteering and giving generously in hopes you remember your experience and want to give back,” he said.

“I think I will continue to be active,” Johnson said. “I feel really good.”

©2022 Advance Local Media LLC. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.