You may not be familiar with IGT, but if you have ever purchased a lottery ticket, you have used their services. IGT is the lottery technology provider for the North Carolina Lottery.
You may be familiar with the Boys & Girls Club of the Sandhills which offers young people a range of fun and productive activities. Three Clubs, two in Southern Pines and one in Aberdeen, are open each day after school from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. From games and athletics to drug prevention workshops and educational assistance, these clubs provide a place for young people with no place to go after school.
According to the Pew Research Center, five million families in the United States do not have access to broadband internet. The IGT after-school program, in conjunction with Charter Communications and the North Carolina Lottery, is attempting to meet that need.
The program has built 307 computer labs worldwide since 1999, with the latest one opening at the Aberdeen Boys and Girls Club. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Tuesday with Rep. Jame Boles and Mark Michalko, Executive Director of the North Carolina Educational Lottery in attendance along with local political and business leaders.
Rep. Jamie Boles (front,left) Fallon M. Brewington (front, right), Dante Poole (back, left), and Aberdeen Mayor Robbie Farrell (back, right).
The approximately $19,000 donation includes 25 IdeaPad Chromebooks, one Dell Laptop, one Interactive Whiteboard, two Dell Desktops, two 55 inch TVs with additional ancillary equipment and room decor. Additionally, volunteers from IGT helped with painting and setting up the computer lab.
Spectrum Communications presented Boys & Girls club site director Leskisha Sandidge a check for $3,000 to provide High-Speed Internet Services to the lab. This lab will provide essential computer skills to members of the Sandhills Boys and Girls Club, which will be critical to helping them succeed in the future. This is the seventh IGT After School Lab opened in North Carolina.
Students in front of laptops during the ribbon cutting ceremony.
According to Representative Jamie Boles, “Rural technology access is a struggle throughout the Sandhills, but due to the help of IGT, the Education Lottery and Charter the students in Aberdeen will be able to succeed in a 21st-century workforce.”
Fallon Brewington, Chief Executive Officer of the Boys & Girls Club of the Sandhills stated, “This is important because internet, media and information literacy are vital for academic and career success.” Aberdeen Elementary School Principal Dante Poole is excited about the opportunities this will provide his students. The center will be available five days a week during the school year and is designed to help students with homework, creative thinking and study help.
Participants cutting the ribbon at the ceremony.
Statewide, The North Carolina Educational Lottery raised over $700 million in 2018, of which $4.7 million was channeled to Moore County according to Michalko.
Spectrum Internet Assist is a program to help ensure K-12 students of eligible low-income families and low-income seniors on Supplemental Security Income have access to reliable internet service at significantly reduced costs.
To find out if you qualify and what services are available in your area, you can visit this website or call 1-844-525-1574.
Feature Photo: Leskisha Sandidge assisting students with laptops during the ribbon cutting ceremony.
Written and pictures by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter Chris Prentice.