I sit at my high-quality computer at the office all day long and blast mp3s while using AIM when I'm at home. But there are so many people in low-income neighborhoods and countless charities that don't have any access at all. The Digital Divide is decreasing, but very slowly. Programs like this one are helping.

I just wrote this a few days ago for my internship, it's interesting:

While most corporations are racing to keep up with the perpetual changes of technology, many smaller community-outreach organizations are barely out of the starting block.

The Digital Divide may be decreasing, but still there is a desperate need for additional computers and education in non-profit organizations and in low-income communities, said Laurie Schoeman, who works at the Catholic Charities’ Office of the Homeless and Hungry.

“A lot of churches and community organizations don’t have the money to purchase top-of-the-line computers to allow them access to the Internet,” Schoeman said. “There’s a whole community of providers and advocates out there but if you can’t access them you’re isolated.”

Lack of education is a serious problem, Schoeman said. Many volunteers at small churches in New York City are older people who didn’t grow up with the Internet. Many younger members of the community are computer illiterate because their schools couldn’t offer adequate services, she said.

“It just seems to me that the technology revolution hasn’t hit everyone,” Schoeman said. “For every office that has 10 or 12 computers there are churches that have absolutely no access.”

Schoeman’s New York-based organization has taken steps to attract computer donations. She has contacted computer manufacturers and searched for computer recycling programs but hasn’t found much help, she said.

The group is looking for computers that have CD-Rom drives and can download at high speeds. The technology is used for government programs, such as food-stamp eligibility screening and to build small community hubs so people can develop computer skills, Schoeman said.

“This is basically an indication of what low-income communities lack. It’s part of a quilt of challenges,” she said.

To get in touch with Catholic Charities call 212.371.1000 or e-mail laurie.schoeman@archny.org.

Also, you guys can download the Fundraising Bar that will pay a dollar an hour, like the other ad bars, but this money goes to charity.

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