Super Bowl-winning receiver Malcolm Mitchell helping to provide Internet access to youth

MALCOLM MITCHELL, the former Super Bowl-winning receiver for the New England Patriots: “For today’s kids, having an Internet connection is vital. Connect2Compete offers an affordable option for families,
and my hope is that more kids find joy and passion in reading and writing like I have through access to technology and tools that Cox provides.”

ATLANTA—Cox has announced a new collaboration to narrow the learning gap in diverse, low-income neighborhoods through its Connect2Compete program, which provides internet access to eligible K-12 students and families at low cost.

Malcolm Mitchell, an author, Super Bowl champion and founder of the Share the Magic Foundation, will partner with Cox to amplify the need for internet access among students, particularly in multicultural areas, as the critical foundation for education, training, and the jobs of tomorrow. Mitchell will help drive awareness and adoption of the Connect2Compete program among eligible customers, all while promoting a cause that carries immense personal meaning to the author and athlete himself, as he once worked off the field to achieve his literacy goals.

“I grew up as a low-income student, so I understand the challenges that exist within the community. Initially, reading was a challenge for me. However, through perseverance, books became an avenue for expanding my curiosity, creativity and learning,” said Mitchell, a native of Valdosta, Georgia, who was drafted to the New England Patriots after graduating from the University of Georgia in 2015. “For today’s kids, having an internet connection is vital. Connect2Compete offers an affordable option for families, and my hope is that more kids find joy and passion in reading and writing like I have through access to technology and tools that Cox provides.”

As many activities have been shifted online, the virus has sparked debates about digital equity. The pressures of the pandemic and social injustice have laid bare the effects of the lack of internet access to kids in lower income families which in turn can lock them out of the economic system. The “homework gap” is even more pronounced in minority children according to research. Communities across the country are facing challenges with remote learning, as many students lack internet access to complete school assignments and learn at their grade level with proficiency.

“Malcolm’s focus on literacy and Cox’s focus on technology go hand-in-hand to ensure young students are positioned for achievement,” said Pat Esser, president and chief executive officer of Cox Communications. “We are proud to join forces with Malcolm Mitchell and the Share the Magic Foundation to ensure children have the opportunity to succeed in the classroom and in life.”

According to a recent Pew Research Center study:

The “homework gap” – which refers to school-age children lacking the connectivity they need to complete schoolwork at home – is more pronounced for Black, Hispanic and lower-income households.

– One-quarter of Black teens said they often or sometimes cannot do homework assignments due to lack of reliable access to a computer or internet connectivity, compared with 13% of White teens and 17% of Hispanic teens.

– Hispanic teens were especially likely to say they do not have access to a home computer: 18% said this, compared with 9% of White teens and 11% of Black teens.

The new partnership builds upon Cox Communications’ continued commitment to ensuring low-income, K-12 students are positioned for the future through technology.

Cox also partners with the Boys & Girls Club of America, where the company has provided Innovation Labs as a place for kids and teens to access the internet and grow digital literacy skills after school.

 

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