Martin Luther King Center board members were joined by Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas, State Sen. Todd Kaminsky and representatives from Altice USA — one of the largest broadband communications providers in the country — on Feb. 14 to celebrate the grand opening of the newly upgraded computer lab at the center.
Long Beach City Council members and local residents gathered for a ceremonial ribbon cutting to mark the occasion. The event also raised awareness of Altice USA’s new “Economy Internet” service, an affordable option for broadband in the home for qualifying households.
The groups coming together for the occasion highlighted the key attributes of resources, access and opportunity, MLK Center officials said.
The D.A.’s office donated four iMacs, 14 Mac Minis, and four Macbook Air computers to the center through a grant to help the facility remain on the cutting edge of education trends by integrating STEAM education into existing programs.
“Our vision is to utilize STEAM as a tool to keep young people academically engaged and out of the criminal justice system,” Singas said. “We thank the MLK Center for committing to providing students with the skills they need to excel in the 21st century classroom.”
Altice USA will provide the center with access to the Internet at no charge. The company is partnering with community organizations across its service area to promote its “Economy Internet” low-cost broadband service, which is available throughout the Optimum and Suddenlink footprints, providing eligible families and senior citizens with access to fast, high-quality internet connectivity at an affordable price.
Kaminsky was instrumental in the pairing of the center and the company, having personally put the center in touch with Altice USA as soon as he learned of the program last fall.
“Modern, high-tech learning is vital for our children, and this lab will give our youth access to a world of potential beyond the classroom,” Kaminsky said. “I commend Altice and the district attorney for their contributions to make this possible. As a former board member of the MLK Center, I’ve seen firsthand how this center changes lives, and now they will be able to go further with a state-of-the-art computer lab.”
MLK Center officials said many of the children and seniors in the North Park area do not have access to computers or Wi-Fi at their homes, and that the center provides a convenient location for community members to make use of the resources and expand their technical learning beyond traditional means.
“I am excited for the community and what they can accomplish with this technology room,” MLK Center board Chairman James Hodge said.
At the center, children are able complete homework, projects and research on their own. The center plans to offer a music programming course beginning on March 9.
The lab also extends opportunities for people all ages — like local seniors — to learn basic navigation skills. Others can use the space to build job acquisition skills like resume writing and how to use online job boards to find employment.
“Technology has a tremendous impact in all our lives today,” said MLK Center Acting Executive Director Lisa Hayes.