By Kendra Barnett, Associate Editor

September 19, 2022 | 4 min read

Students from low-income brackets get candid about how Verizon technology has empowered them to achieve more.

To celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Verizon Innovative Learning, a program that equips Title I schools with free technology and curricula, the telecoms giant is spotlighting the students who have been most impacted.

The new campaign gives a voice to four students who have been impacted by the program – each of whom shares how Verizon has shaped their education experience and inspired their plans for the future.

Minu Patel, one of the first students involved in the Verizon Innovative Learning program through her school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is an aspiring tech professional and a senior at Temple University studying information science and technology. “My journey into tech really started with my experience in Verizon Innovative Learning,” Patel said in a statement. “Being part of the program throughout middle school not only taught me about STEM and the possibilities of tech, but also about discipline, leadership and accountability. I now mentor young girls while pursuing a career in technology, because I know first-hand what a difference learning to believe in yourself can make.”

The new campaign features first-hand accounts from Patel and three other students, including a community activist, an aspiring engineer and a content creator.

Even before the pandemic, close to 15% of US children under the age of 18 lived in poverty, according to data from nonpartisan policy group the Center for American Progress. And when Covid and its knock-on effects exacerbated economic inequalities in the US, millions of young people in the US suffered the brunt. As part of the problem, millions of young people in the US have limited access to modern technologies, which inhibits their ability to succeed academically.

Verizon has long made it a priority to be a responsible business, which, for the telecoms company, includes commitments to combating barriers to tech access for underserved communities and improving digital equity. In particular, the company aims to provide digital skills training to 10 million young people by 2030. And it’s well on its way, thanks to Verizon Innovative Learning. In partnership with a variety of not-for-profits, the program has helped to provide $1bn in value over the last decade, in the form of free internet access, technology and educational resources, to Title I schools across the US.

Starting today, the campaign, which includes a unique spot for each of the four spotlighted students, will appear across broadcast TV and a number of digital and social channels. Two of the students featured will take the stage in New York City on September 24 at the Global Citizen Festival, where they will share their stories.

Throughout the 2022-2023 academic year, Verizon will expand its Verizon Innovative Learning program to 561 new Title I middle and high schools around the country.

The company is also rolling out a new free online education portal for educators called Verizon Innovative Learning HQ. Through the portal, teachers can access STEM lesson plans, professional development resources and more.

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