TFA Provides Technology Solutions for Community Issues
Since 2005, Technology For All has partnered with Rice University to provide free WiFi to residents from the neighboring low-income East End community, who otherwise would not have access to the Internet. This year, the TFA-Wireless network is being upgraded to provide a stronger signal and a higher quality of service. In addition, pollution sensors are being installed in the neighborhood in collaboration with Rice.
As a sub-grantee of National Science Foundation grants awarded to Rice University, TFA has embarked on new technologies that will benefit not only the community, but provide educational opportunities for students at Milby High School. These students from the STEM Institute Magnet Program have been invited to participate in the new pollution sensor project. They will have access to real time data on pollution and other environmental hazards in the air. Starting with the new school year, students will be trained in the use of these tools and gain skills which will enable them to meet 21st century environmental challenges.
The first advanced laser pollution sensor is installed at Mission Milby, which houses the Technology for All offices. Led by Rice University Postdoctoral Fellow, Riccardo Petrolo, the installation provides Rice engineers with real data for research and the development of potential solutions to air quality issues.
With the implementation of HISD's recent PowerUP initiative, students are required to use the Internet to access school assignments and information. Many families in Houston's East End neighborhood cannot afford WiFi equipment to provide this service for their children. For several years, many students have come to Mission Milby to use the free WiFi offered there. However, with upgraded WiFi service through TFA-Wireless, these students will be able to complete homework assignments in their homes, and in other community locations, like local businesses and Ingrando Park. In addition, parents of these students will have access to their children's vital information, such as grades and attendance records. They will be notified of grade changes and poor school attendance. Statistics show that students of parents who are more engaged in their education achieve higher success in school.
TFA is partnering with community organizations to implement the new WiFi offerings. Local business establishments, libraries and schools will host WiFi antennas which will allow more reliable Internet access over a larger area.
Although some funding comes from Rice University and the National Science Foundation, there are still expenses to be covered. Please consider making a donation which will enable students and their families to get online and access the tools that many of us take for granted. Thank you for your support.