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Freedom Rings Partnership to Kick Off at MLK Day of Service

January 14, 2011

What: Currently 41 percent of Philadelphia residents do not have Internet access. To respond to this desperate need, the Freedom Rings Partnership, a multi-year initiative to bring Internet access, training and technology to residents in underserved communities will officially kick off on Martin Luther King Day, January 17 at 8 a.m. at Girard College. The Freedom Rings Partnership is an over $25 million federally-funded mulit-year project, led by the Urban Affairs Coalition and the City of Philadelphia’s Division of Technology, with Drexel University as a major partner. The Partnership will launch at the MLK Day of Service with volunteers refurbishing computers to be given to low-income youth assembling digital literacy kits; and hosting a high tech scavenger hunt called “Race to Connect.” During the race, teams will use social media and technology to navigate their way through the historic Girard College. Who: Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, Urban Affairs Coalition President and CEO Sharmain Matlock-Turner and Drexel President John A. Fry will join volunteers. Background: Over the next two years, the Freedom Rings Partnership will reach over 100,000 low-income Philadelphians, including children, the unemployed and seniors, with information about the importance of broadband to their daily lives; provide hands-on training to at least 15,000 people at over 130 locations citywide, including 77 public computer centers; and distribute 5,000 “netbooks” to public housing residents who complete technology skills training. Public Computer Centers (PCC), where residents can access the Internet and get training, will be opened in low-income neighborhoods across Philadelphia. Locations include recreation centers, health and social service organizations, workforce development agencies, and select nonprofits. There will also be four mobile computer labs that will travel throughout the City providing Internet access and training to underserved communities. When: January 17, 2011, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Where: Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service, Girard College ### News media contacts: Mary-Anne Smith Harris, Urban Affairs Coalition 215-851-1794 or 267-229-2348 or Niki Gianakaris, Drexel University 215-895-6741 or 215-778-7752 or

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