Originally posted by Staff at Spectrum News

Spectrum on Monday presented a check for $15,000 to David Sun-Miyashiro, executive director of the nonprofit HawaiiKidsCAN, at its Honolulu office.

The grant is part of Spectrum’s six-year, $8 million commitment to promote digital education and broadband technology to communities nationwide through its Spectrum Digital Education program.

“HawaiiKidsCAN launched in 2017. The No. 1 thing we want is more innovation and equity in our education system,” explained Sun-Miyashiro. “We realize it’s not something you can solve with a magic bullet or just one approach. You’ve really got to tackle it lots of ways, so we work on legislation, thinking about system change. We also roll up our sleeves and work in communities on a wide range of projects from making sure kids can get free internet during the pandemic, to this new program to help address learning loss, to supporting parents to (help them) build and develop skills they need to really advocate for their kids.”

WiFi on Wheels started early on during the pandemic when teachers said the problem wasn’t a lack of devices — it was access to the internet, according to Sun-Miyashiro. Schools had devices for kids to take home, but once at home, they couldn’t access the internet to log into classes and keep up with their peers.

Sun-Miyashiro said they looked at different approaches from around the country, with one model placing WiFi hotspots in vehicles and sending them into communities. The vehicles parked at a central community location such as a community center, a park, a church or anywhere that people could safely gather. The program culminated with 11 WiFi on Wheels sites throughout the state across four islands acting as a free public hotspot in communities for kids to use.

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