Photo: Suncoast Digital Inclusion Month

Suncoast Digital Inclusion Month Celebration

Posted on October 01, 2023 by Karen Stewart, Digital Access for All Engagement Team
The Patterson Foundation's Digital Access for All (DA4A) initiative celebrates Suncoast Digital Inclusion Month (SDIM) in October 2023. Collaborating with Digital Navigator Program agencies, The GAP, Aspirations To Actions, Affordable Connectivity Program engagers, and others, a series of digital inclusion events are being implemented to raise awareness of the digital divide and help increase internet, devices, and digital skills adoption in Charlotte, Desoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties. Suncoast Digital Inclusion Month is supported by the DA4A and TPF team, including Kellie Alexander, Avery Crews Prado de Lima, Andrew Spector, and Stacy Sternberg.

The celebration features partnerships from regional organizations and includes special events and campaigns to raise awareness for solutions to promote digital inclusion. The project will bring together others who care to learn what is being done locally, regionally, and nationally to promote digital inclusion. The local celebration evolved from the National Digital Inclusion Alliance Digital Inclusion Week, held October 2–6. 2023.

Charlotte County adopted a Proclamation for SDIM at the Board of County Commissioners Meeting on September 26. Desoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties recognized SDIM at their regular meetings on October 10 as a proclamation or presentation.

The DA4A Team, led by Cheri Coryea, has launched the first few events to share learnings, promote digital inclusion, collaborate with partners, and connect the community to events to strengthen digital knowledge, skills, training, and access to devices.

The DA4A team, including Cinthia Pena, Marla Smith, and Cheri Coryea, along with Carolina Franco and Elias Verzini from the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading Team, participated in the National Night Out event at the Turner Center in Desoto County on Monday, October 3. The event featured information about the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and the Digital Navigator Program.

Maribel Martinez, a consultant with The Patterson Foundation on the DA4A initiative, provided a free virtual class titled "How Secure is Your Home Internet?" on Friday, October 7. The class pointed out the importance of using the internet safely once connected.

A SDIM calendar of events has been finalized to raise awareness for solutions to promote digital inclusion. Be sure to check out the activities for the entire month! Some of the options include:
  • October 10 – Desoto Solutions to Action event on October 10
  • October 11 – Webinar – Impacts of Digital Skills Training on Hispanics
  • October 11 – AHA Fall Festival, ACP engager event
  • October 21 – Big Mama's Collard Greens Festival
  • October 23 – Goodwill ACP engager event
All month – Suncoast Technology User's Group (STUG) device donation drive
Please mark your calendars and save the dates to join us in celebrating Suncoast Digital Inclusion Month to learn, share, and strengthen digital access for all. Also, stay tuned for the SDIM report of accomplishments and learnings in November.

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