IBM Donates Early Learning ’KidSmart’ Computer Centers to Cherokee Nation Head Start Program
Technology Access and Training for Native American Preschoolers
TAHLEQUAH, OK - 24 Apr 2006: As part of its national public awareness initiative to provide technology access and training to Native People across the United States, IBM today has donated ten Young Explorer computer learning centers to the local Cherokee Nation’s Head Start program. The donation supports the Native American Family Technology Journey program.
Much more than hardware, the ten Young Explorers KidSmart kiosks will support learning in literacy and math, helping prepare preschoolers for nearly 700 children enrolled in the Cherokee Nation’s 34 Head Start centers.
IBM’s successful program has been nationally recognized for enriching the quality of learning and teaching as well as providing opportunities for hands-on exploration that will inspire problem solving and creativity. IBM employee volunteers, many of whom are members of the Cherokee and other tribal nations, helped to install the Young Explorers and train teachers and students.
“By addressing the Digital Divide and launching initiatives such as Native American Family Technology Journey and Partnering with IBM in Education (PIE), IBM is striving to weave technology with traditions. The initiatives give young Native People a chance to explore what technology and innovation can mean for their families, in terms of accessing today’s opportunities and preserving the traditions of the past,” said Michele Morningstar, IBM Workforce Diversity Program Manager -- Native American constituency. “In donating the Young Explorers to the Cherokee Nation, IBM hopes to provide technology training and tools that will not only encourage educational success but also prepare Cherokee children to take their place among the next generation of innovators, scientists and engineers.”
According to a study released by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, titled Falling Through The Net: Defining The Digital Divide, Native Americans rank far below the national average in their access to telephones, computers and the Internet, making it difficult for them to “access the important information resources via computers and on the Internet that are quickly becoming essential for success.”
“The Cherokee Nation appreciates the interest that IBM shows in our children’s futures and in making technology access and training available to our people,” added Chad Smith, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. “Technology can play a key role in not only preserving our past, but also in enabling our people to access educational, employment and quality of life opportunities that can help to enhance our future.”
IBM has donated more than 30,000 Young Explorer Learning Centers to preschools and nonprofit child care centers in more than 50 countries in Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa, with a total investment of more than $56 million. The centers are an integral part of the company’s KidSmart Early Learning program that also provide web based training materials for teachers and parents in a multiple languages, along with on site training and support. For more information about IBM’s Young Explorer Learning Centers and the KidSmart Early Learning program, please visit www.ibm.com.
IBM is the world’s largest information technology company, with over 80 years of leadership in helping businesses innovate. Drawing on resources from across IBM and key Business Partners, IBM offers a wide range of services, solutions and technologies that enable customers, large and small, to take full advantage of the new era of e-business. For more information about IBM, visit www.ibm.com.
About the Cherokee Nation
The Cherokee Nation is the official government of the Cherokee people and the second largest sovereign tribal nation in the United States. This tripartite government is headquartered in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Cherokee Nation jurisdiction spreads across 90,000 acres and 14 counties in northeastern Oklahoma. Important to Cherokee Nation is the continuance and enhancement of the quality of life for its citizens through the promotion of the Cherokee language, jobs and communities.
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