Community partners exceed goals in helping the underserved @Focus_HOPE #MatrixHumanServices #CommunityOne #TellUsDetroit

Photos by Scott Sullivan/Tell Us Detroit

By Abenaah Ezrah/Tell Us Detroit

DETROIT (Tell Us Det) Today, Wednesday June 20, 2012 partners in a $3 million Federal broadband initiative invited media to a forum held at the McGregor Center on Wayne State University’s campus, announcing that they have exceeded their goal of training 5,250 low income individuals on how to use computers and access the vast resources of the internet. The group exceeded its goal by 750 people and hopes to train another 1,000 before funding expires in December.

Volunteers, participants and contributors all gathered to express the significance of the Connect Your Community program and to reach out to individuals who have interest in helping their communities and those who can support or continue support past December through the coming months of 2013

The Connect Your Community (CYC) project was launched in 2009 with funding from the 18.7 million Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP) from the U.S. Department of Commerce and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The BTOP grant, awarded to a national coalition of organizations led by Cleveland’s OneCommunity, enabling community-based agencies to engage, train, equip and support over 25,000 new “sustainable broadband adopters” in Detroit and six other communities in Ohio, Kentucky, Florida and Mississippi.

Detroit’s $3 million share of the funding was targeted to households in the Detroit Central Woodward/North End (just North of Mid-Town) and Osborn neighborhoods. Focus: HOPE led the CYC Program in Detroit, working in partnership with the Child Care Coordinating Council of Wayne County (4C) and Matrix Human Services. Other partners and supporters of the effort included Wayne State University, the Community Telecommunications Network (CTN), Clearwire, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the Henry Ford Health System.

Through the CYC project, individuals took a short course that covered the basics of operating a computer, word processing, setting up an email account, and navigating the internet. After successful completion of the course, students were eligible for a refurbished, low-cost or free desktop or laptop computer. Many of the computers were donated, including 1,700 laptops donated by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

Author, Ernestine Moore and Entrepreneur, Meatta E. N Reeves both completed the Connect Your Community program. Moore’s recently published book- Casualty of Silence tells her life story of generational curses and how she took a stand to break the curse and get the word out about Abuse, in and outside the home.

As explained by Moore, “I just wanted my voice to be heard- it’s about breaking the silence and breaking the cycle.” Online business owner Meatta E.N Reeves explained how this program gave her self-confidence just to get started. “I lost my job and needed an outlet- quick!” “I found out about the CYC program through a Focus: HOPE information forum though church and figured I’d try it out” Reeves determination was relentless and success was her only option. “Those who are willing to put forth the effort will prosper. For information about their venture and their personal stories visit: &

“Our next challenge is to find new sources of funding to continue providing this essential service to residents in our community.” Focus: HOPE CEO, James Hay

For more information about how you can contribute or benefit from these amazing resources visit:

One Community:

Focus: HOPE:

Matrix Human Services:




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