In October 2016, Mobile Beacon, a unique internet provider focused on nonprofits and educational organizations, awarded LifeSTEPS with a grant for a pilot digital inclusion program, which included 25 laptops and one year of internet access. The results so far have been outstanding, and we have been able to use these laptops in over 80 properties to date. Here is one resident’s story of how access to this technology has changed her life.
Samantha* and her husband Ricardo, along with their two boys, have been living for the past five years at Cortez City Lights, a small affordable housing community near Echo Park in the heart of Los Angeles.
Samantha made the decision when her oldest son was born, about 12 years ago, to stay at home and focus on raising the kids, which was the best decision at the time for her and her family. This path has brought her a lot of joy, and she is proud of how she’s raised her boys. But of course, there have been sacrifices. Samantha has passed up academic and career opportunities to focus on her family. Her husband has worked long hours in the service hours, and living on one income is tough.
In January, Samantha identified that she wanted to rebuild her career now that both boys are in school and busy with extracurriculars. She decided that getting back in the workforce, having a career outside of the home, and contributing to the household income would be best for their family right now, and she also was excited to pursue goals she’d long been considering.
However, her job search stalled without ready access to the internet and a computer. Samantha quickly realized she’d need some help, so she sought out Jessica, the on-site LifeSTEPS Director of Social Services. Jessica had received a laptop and wifi hotspot from our partnership with Mobile Beacon, so she was able to help Samantha search for jobs online. Together, they learned of the requirements for the jobs Samantha was seeking, and Jessica helped her create a new resume using the Mobile Beacon laptop. She also took the opportunity to coach Samantha, and she is pleased to report that Samantha is now happily employed! And soon, she hopes to complete the GED examination and will work with Jessica to develop a plan to continue growing her career.
Samantha tells us, “I am now self-sufficient and capable of helping my husband financially, lessening his work load and financial stress. You played a role in making my transition back to the job market a real success.” We at LifeSTEPS could not have helped Samantha in this way without the support of and partnership with Mobile Beacon! Thanks, Mobile Beacon, for all you are doing to help us build strong communities.
*Names are changed to protect resident privacy.