Closing the digital divide with Comcast

This is a sponsored conversation on behalf of Comcast and Internet Essentials. As always, all opinions are mine alone. Internet Essentials Monique Jocelyne Lamoureux In the past 10 years of blogging, I’ve had quite a few “pinch me” moments. You know, those moments where you just can’t believe that you’re not dreaming, and are absolutely incredulous at the opportunities you’ve been given. Yesterday was one of those for me, when I had the opportunity to meet Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Monique Lamoureux-Morando during an intimate roundtable event with Comcast.

Monique and Jocelyne are famous hockey players on the U.S. Women’s Hockey Team, winning three Olympic medals {one gold in 2018, and two silvers} and eight world championship medals {six golds, one silver} over the course of their careers. At the 2018 Winter Olympics while competing for Team USA against Canada, Jocelyne scored the winning goal after her twin sister, Monique, tied the game near the end of regulation.

In the 2018 Olympics, Jocelyne also scored two goals a mere six seconds apart, an Olympic record for shortest time between goals by anyone, men or women. I can’t even wrap my head around that stat, as I have a hard time imagining scoring even one Olympic goal, so the idea of two in 6 SECONDS just blows my mind.

Internet essentials eventHearing them speak of their accomplishments and their triumphs during our afternoon was awe-inspiring, and I loved hearing how their love of sports had encouraged them to dream big. While I may not be an Olympic hopeful at this point in my life, I so appreciate the message that by sticking to something you love doing you can inspire and encourage those around you. Jocelyne and Monique have become heroes to kids around the world who are dreaming of following their dreams to the Olympics, and I can think of no better role models than the two women I met yesterday.

Their excitement and love for their sport was so apparent, and their aspirations to encourage all young kids to participate in an organized sport were so moving, I briefly thought about joining a sport myself. No, I kid, I kid… but, I did love hearing their stories about their backgrounds and how sports has helped them in all aspect of their lives.

A level playing field

But, as amazing as all of this really is, these aren’t the only reasons I was starstruck in meeting Monique and Jocelyne yesterday. It’s their work championing for gender equity – in both pay and in overall opportunity – that really got me excited to meet them. Jocelyne and Monique are steadfast supporters of equality and I was thrilled that I got the opportunity to ask them some questions about their experiences as leaders in the U.S. national team’s fight for fair and equal treatment by USA Hockey.

Their ask from USA Hockey was for more equitable support as compared to the men’s hockey team and for more funding for girl’s youth hockey programs like the boy’s programs received. After years of back and forth and putting everything on the line both personally and professionally, a mere two days before the 2017 World Championships were scheduled to start, the women’s hockey team and USA Hockey finally were able to reach a historic agreement. The Lamoureux twins went on to win gold, and then their Olympic gold after that. On behalf of women and girls everywhere, I wanted to say thank you to them and let them know that we were rooting them on from the sidelines.Comcast bloggers with Monique and Jocelyne Lamoureux

Comcast Internet Essentials takes on the digital divide

The Olympic gold medalist twins were recently named as ambassadors and spokespeople for Comcast’s corporate values initiative, and they were in Seattle as part of their nationwide #InternetEssentials tour. Just like the twins’ advocacy for closing the gender divide in sports, their goal with Comcast is to help close the digital divide.

In our roundtable, the Lamoureux twins were joined by David L Cohen, Comcast Senior Executive Vice President & Chief Diversity Officer, and he explained how closing the digital divide is especially impactful for children who need access to technology and the internet in order to succeed in school. There is such a need for greater digital literacy among students, and I’ve seen this firsthand in my work in my children’s school.

Comcast Internet Essentials Back to School Events - Seattle
Comcast Internet Essentials Back to School Events – Seattle

This is where Comcast comes in. Through its Internet Essentials program, the largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program for low-income families in the U.S., Comcast has connected over 260,000 low-income Washington residents, including more than 100,000 in King County alone since its inception in 2011.

With their Internet Essentials program, Comcast provides low-cost high-speed Internet service for $9.95/mo plus tax to families in need. They also offer the option to purchase an Internet-ready computer for under $150, which makes owning a computer and staying connected to the internet so much more affordable to those families it serves. And, they even offer multiple ways to access FREE digital literacy training in print, online and in person.

This is just part of Comcast’s commitment to take on the digital divide and connect communities to the Internet, and I was so excited hearing their hopes and dreams for how the program can grow to include every at-risk group. We were all in tears hearing stories of kids in need getting free laptops courtesy of the program, and I was inspired knowing how many lives were forever going to be changed because of one simple act that opens up so many doors for the families who need them most.

Comcast Internet Essentials Back to School Events - Seattle
Photos from the Comcast Internet Essentials Back to School events, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2018, in Seattle. (Ron Wurzer/Comcast)

Just before our meeting, Jocelyne and Monique had spent the morning at Beverly Park Elementary in Seattle surprising over 150 kids with brand new laptops. Hearing about how the kids reacted to their new laptops made us all so happy, and it was so awesome to talk to everyone who had been there and felt that excitement firsthand.

I am so happy to see Comcast’s support of programs such as these, as well as focusing on gender equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace. I think I speak for everyone when I say that we all left inspired by what the day had brought as well as excited for the future of Comcast’s corporate values initiatives.

You can read more about Comcast’s Internet Essentials here as well as the background on the Internet Essentials program and where it i headed next, and find more about the Lamoureux twins at the Comcast site.

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