Disability Network Eastern Michigan distributed 50 laptops donated by AT&T and Human I-T to its clients Dec. 4.

Disability Network Eastern Michigan distributed 50 laptops donated by AT&T and Human I-T to its clients Dec. 4.

Photo provided by Chip Werner

50 laptops donated to Troy nonprofit

By: Brendan Losinski | Troy Times | Published December 18, 2023


TROY — Disability Network Eastern Michigan, based in Troy, distributed 50 free laptops Dec. 4 to preselected individuals with disabilities who have digital divide barriers.

The laptops were provided by AT&T and Human I-T. The distribution was part of a nationwide initiative by AT&T to help bridge the digital divide, known as “the Connected Learning Initiative.” The distribution took place at Disability Network Eastern Michigan’s offices in Troy.

“Our mission is to promote inclusion for everyone in our community by breaking down barriers and opening paths towards independence for those living with disabilities,” Kelly Winn, the chief executive officer of Disability Network Eastern Michigan, said in an email. “In today’s digital economy, that includes helping our consumers have the technology and connection they need to be able to stay in their own homes. These laptops from AT&T and Human I-T will open new doors of opportunities for the adults we serve to continue living independently.”

Disability Network Eastern Michigan is a center for independent living and serves people with disabilities in Huron, Lapeer, Macomb, Oakland, Sanilac, St. Clair and Tuscola counties.

Their hope with the donations is to provide internet accessibility, affordability and safe adoption for those in underserved areas.

Disability Network Eastern Michigan said many of their clients don’t have digital basics at home, including a computer, that are needed to benefit from the online world — an issue known as the digital divide. They said these laptops will help these individuals search for jobs, obtain employment, receive telehealth, connect with family and resources, and continue to live independently in their own homes.

“There are too many people who face challenges in life due to digital divide barriers, especially those in underserved communities,” David Lewis, state president of AT&T Michigan, said in an email. “Not only is access to connectivity vital in bridging the digital divide, but it also helps those with disabilities continue to live independently. We are proud to support the mission of Disability Network Eastern Michigan by providing these laptops to those who need them most.”

Winn said that programs like this help those with disabilities gain independence and improve their lives in ways that otherwise might be impossible.

“Our mission statement notes that we are committed to promoting inclusion for all by breaking down barriers and opening paths towards independence and personal choice, through resources, advocacy information, support, and education,” she said in an email. “This opportunity, thanks to AT&T, does exactly that. Today we are able to break barriers and open paths through access to technology thanks to these generous donations. This new resource creates opportunity to connect with others, participate in programs, join virtual classes, shop for groceries, avoid isolation and attend online medical appointments. This donation provides independence.”

She commended AT&T and Human I-T and hopes the community will continue to share resources with those who need them.

“Disability Network Eastern Michigan recognizes AT&T for their commitment to inclusivity,” Winn wrote. “We believe the work each one of us does help towards a vision of being a community where those living with disabilities are empowered to pursue personal growth, and through access to community resources and supportive services.”

More information on Disability Network Eastern Michigan can be found at www.dnemichigan.org.