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Fairfield County LGBT Youth to Receive Better Access to Life-Saving Technology
NORWALK, Conn., Aug. 2, 2018 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- On Tuesday afternoon, Triangle Community Center launched its partnership with PowerOn, the national program to put life-saving technology into the hands of America's housing-insecure and at-risk LBGTQ youth.
"The PowerOn program strives to meet LGBTQ individuals where they are by working nationally to upcycle lightly used donated technology from individuals and companies," explained Christopher Wood, Executive Director of the LGBT Technology Institute, one of three organizations that operates PowerOn. "Beginning with a certified wipe of all devices, we offer a complete refurbishment and distribution of life-saving technology to homeless and housing-insecure LGBTQ youth through a network of partner LGBTQ community centers and homeless shelters such as Triangle Community Center."
Each night, as many as 1.6 million children and teens sleep on America's streets. Over 40 percent of these homeless youth identify as LGBTQ, which is equivalent to the population of our nation's capital, or about 650,000 people. In the 2018 Youth Point in Time Count conducted by the CT Coalition to End Homelessness found that on average there are more than 5000 housing insecure young adults in Connecticut on any given night. One-quarter of the state's population lives in Fairfield County. Triangle Community Center serves over 300 individuals who utilize its programs and services on a regular basis as well as over 5000 members of the Fairfield County community who attend a TCC program or event at least once a year.
"Technology is important because LGBT youth are at a higher risk for things like dropping out of school, suicide, and homelessness, and having technological resources can help us reach out for help. Having access to computers and phones means that we can apply for jobs, apply to schools, stay in touch with our support network, and so much more," said Emmett Burns, a client of TCC. "Technology can help us succeed and thrive, and it very well may save someone's life. Knowing that I will have access to technology at TCC motivates me to stay in school because I know I will have a place to get my work done. PowerOn and LGBT Tech have made it possible for me and other LGBT youth to achieve greatness."
The PowerOn program provided five computers for the youth drop-in center, 14 cell phones, and a printer to launch the partnership. These devices will allow youth to complete schoolwork, apply for jobs, find housing, and explore interests like graphic design and coding, which will complement the Center's existing programs.
"The cell phone program is so important because a lot of our youth and young adults don't have access to phones," said Claude Louis, Program Coordinator for TCC. "I had a trans young adult who was homeless, living in a park who I couldn't find because he didn't have a cell phone. With a cell phone I can get in contact with him, make sure that he's safe, and I can get him somewhere safe and make sure he's successful."
The expansion of Triangle Community Center's drop-in center and programs is thanks in large part to the support of Circle Care Center in Norwalk and the Young Adult Services Program at the CT State Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services in addition to office furniture from SPI Marketing in New York City, and support of the PowerOn program through the Verizon Foundation and Comcast Foundation.
With the launch of Triangle Community Center, PowerOn partners are now serving LGBTQ youth in ten different cities across the country. PowerOn hopes to add seven more centers to the program by this time next year, bringing the national total to 17 partner centers.
For more information about PowerOn, or to donate your old technology, please visit http://www.poweronlgbt.org.
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