MONTCLAIR, NJ - Applications are currently available for qualifying families to receive free internet service.
A series of local community partners have collaborated this fall to support the distribution of free home Internet access to financially disadvantaged Montclair families, Montclair Kids First (MKF) has announced.
The parent application, which is due on October 15, will be sent home to every student by the Montclair School District and is also available online at www.montclairkidsfirst.org.
The Montclair Center Business Improvement District will make available applications to local businesses to showcase throughout Montclair. The Montclair African-American Clergy Association and the Montclair Clergy Association will also distribute applications and brief their Pastors, Ministers, Rabbis and spiritual leaders so congregations can be fully informed of the initiative.
Other participating locations serving as 'Application Centers' include the Montclair Public Library (MPL), Montclair Art Museum (MAM), Montclair State University (MSU), United Way of Northern New Jersey, The Salvation Army Montclair Citadel, Interfaith Hospitality Network of Essex (IHN), Montclair Film Festival (MFF), Improving Montclair Achievement Network Initiative (IMANI) and Succeed 2Gether.
“Our community partners will play a vital role in making sure that families who need Wi-Fi access, but cannot afford it, are aware of this opportunity,” stated MKF President Shelly Lombard.
“Children who don’t have access to technology are at a real disadvantage in our increasingly digital world. MKF’s Wi-Fi initiative is a chance for all of us to come together, put the focus back on children, and drive better educational outcomes for all of them.”
JerseyOn, a statewide non-profit focused on connecting low-income students and their families to the Internet, has made it possible to provide free WiFi to families in need, says MKF leaders. This effort will fund the purchase of Sprint NETGEAR Fuse Mobile Hotspot devices and four years of continuous service for every family in Montclair participating in the free and reduced lunch program.
Executive Director of MKF Matthew Frankel said, “In every conversation, in every local meeting, the response from our community partners has been extremely positive. The work we are doing as a community shows that we can, indeed, all come together to support disadvantaged students. Starting today, it is our collective mission to make sure that as many parents as possible are aware of this opportunity and receive the application.”
Each free device will provide 3GBs of free monthly data service for four continuous years on Sprint’s 4GLTE network. There will be no cost or obligation to the user and will be available only to parents who choose to participate. Specifically, the device will be restricted to educational use. As part of the negotiations, Sprint and JerseyOn will ensure each Internet access device will block anything deemed inappropriate for children.
JerseyOn Chairman Josh Gottheimer said, “The Montclair community has gone above and beyond to bring broadband connectivity to hard-pressed families, so that students can access all of the benefits the Internet has to offer, from research to student collaboration to applying for college."
The Montclair Public Library will host a series of seminars for those families who apply for the hot spot devices. These MKF events will be custom-designed and led by representatives of Montclair State University’s computer science and information technology staff.
Updated Timeline for the MKF WiFi Initiative:
• September 10th – October 15th: Free WiFi applications will be available District-wide.
• October 15th: Due date for applications.
• October 15th – December 15th: Purchasing and processing of devices by MKF.
• January 2016: Communication to enrolled parents regarding dates for device distribution seminar events.
• First Quarter of 2016: Series of device distribution seminar events take place at the Montclair Public Library, with technical support provided by Montclair State University’s Computer Science and Information Technology Team.
APPLICATION CENTERS FOR FREE WIFI
Montclair Public Library (MPL)
50 South Fullerton Avenue
Montclair Art Museum (MAM)
3 South Mountain Avenue
Interfaith Hospitality Network of Essex (IHN)
46 Park Street
The Salvation Army Montclair Citadel
13 Trinity Place
Improving Montclair Achievement Network Initiative (IMANI)
73 South Fullerton Avenue
United Way of Northern New Jersey
60 South Fullerton Avenue
Montclair Film Festival (MFF)
8 Hillside Avenue
11 Pine Street