Empowering LGBTQ+ Youth: The Power of Community Engagement

In celebration of Pride Month 2022, Verizon’s State Government Affairs and PRISM, Verizon’s LGBTQ Employee Resource Group convened a national conversation with community partners working to empower and support LGBTQ+ youth across the country. Guest speakers from the Boston Alliance of LGBTQ Youth (BAGLY), Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders (SMYAL), The Center on Colfax, and the LYRIC Center for LGBTQQ Youth shared their insights and how their organizations are taking action to protect and advocate for young people. Check out the full event video below!

Community Partnership Chat: Rhode Island Pride

Join Verizon’s Adriana Dawson as she celebrates Pride Month with local RI Business Owner and representative of Rhode Island Pride Anthony Santurri. The two discussed the role RI Pride plays in bringing together the greater LGBTQIA+ community to commemorate the community’s diverse heritage, foster inclusion, educate and create awareness of issues, and celebrate achievements in equality. Watch the video to learn more!

LEADForward Community Partnership Chat: The Arc of Prince George’s County

Join Verizon’s Candice Austin as she chats with Rob Malone, Executive Director at The Arc of Prince George’s County. They discussed how The Arc of Prince George’s County has been a leader in providing comprehensive support for individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities. They further discussed how the organization was able to leverage technology and pivot to virtual programming during COVID. Watch to learn more about this incredible organization!

LEADForward Community Partnership Chat: Latin American Youth Center (LAYC)

In this installment of the LEADForward Community Partnership Chat series, Verizon’s Mario Acosta-Velez speaks with Lupi Quinteros-Grady, President of the Latin American Youth Center (LAYC), in Washington DC. The two discussed how LAYC has transformed the lives of over 70,000 youth and families for decades through tailored programs and tireless service. Watch the video to learn more!

5G Connecting Communities Series: Women Leading the Way in Tech

On Tuesday, May 17, 2022, the women of Verizon’s SGA East Region as kicked off the 5G Connecting Communities Series through conversations with women who are leading the way in tech. Leaders from New York, Washington D.C., and Virginia discussed economic development, STEM education, and digital divide investments happening up and down the coast. The event spotlighted how 5G drives local communities, including the nonprofit partners, businesses, and government leaders from across the region who are leveraging technology to advance their work.

Speakers included:

Candice Austin, Director, State Government & Local Affairs, Verizon; Jessica Chait, Manager, State & Local Government Affairs, Verizon; Danielle Craddock, Founder/Director, Girls Inspired and Ready to Lead, Inc.; Kathleen Grillo, SVP, Public Policy & Government Affairs, Verizon; Kassandra Perez-Desir, Regional Director, Government Affairs & Public Policy, Verizon; Kelly Schulz, Former Secretary of the Maryland Department of Commerce & Department of Labor; and Michelle Watson, Tech Program Supervisor, Queens Chamber of Commerce.

LEADForward Community Partnership Chat: Fight for Children

Verizon’s Tony Lewis sat down with Fight for Children’s CEO Keith Gordon to talk about their mission to improve the lives of children in the Nation’s Capital and amplify the quality and sustainability of sports-based programs for youth and families in underserved communities in the Washington, DC metro area. Catch the full conversation here:

The Washington Informer: EDNEY: 5G and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Could Help End the Digital Divide

By Hazel Trice Edney, 4/7/22

The last two years have underlined what we already knew: the digital divide in America is real and has consequences for millions of Americans. An affordable, reliable connection is imperative in participating in the 21st century economy, and those families relying on mobile-only access are falling behind. Often, they cannot attend class online or seek a career opportunity that offers the possibility of working remotely. And as more services, job applications, and infrastructure moves online, the gap is only widening. 

Read the full article on The Washington Informer here.

Lighting the Spark: Community Leaders and Changemakers

On International Women’s Day 2022, Verizon’s SGA team hosted a conversation between GoodrCo.’s Jasmine Crowe, Skills for Rhode Island’s Future’s Nina Pande, Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital’s Lidia Soto-Harmon, and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) LA’s Tunua Thrash-Ntuk for a conversation about how these women are helping their communities thrive. Watch the full conversation below.

Elevating Our Community Partners

One of the most rewarding aspects of our community engagement work is the opportunity to partner with many non-profit organizations and support innovative programs that help advance the diverse communities we serve. In May 2020, we launched the Community Partnerships Initiative to celebrate these local organizations and highlight their important work. 

Here’s a roundup of the impressive partners we’ve featured in the East Region. Also, check out USTechFuture.org – a Verizon-led, community-focused initiative to educate the public on how tech will change lives – for local news, events, and videos in cities across the country.

Mary’s Center – Healthcare and Telehealth

Mary’s Center is a community health center that serves thousands of people of all backgrounds in the Washington, DC-metro area. Maria Gomez, President and CEO, told Verizon’s Mario Acosta-Velez about the health care, education, and social services her organization provides to put community members on a path to advance and move up the economic ladder. ▶ Watch here in English and Spanish.

New York City Employment & Training Coalition (NYCETC) – Workforce Development

NYCETC is the largest city-based workforce development association across the country, helping New Yorkers find work. Jose Ortiz, Jr., CEO, told Verizon’s Tavonia Davis how his organization is helping to ensure the New York workforce has the skills, training, and education it needs to thrive in the 21st century. ▶ Watch here.

New Jersey Institute for Social Justice (NJISJ) – Social Justice and Empowerment

 NJISJ fights racial inequality and opens up opportunities for people of color across the state of New Jersey. Ryan Haygood, President and CEO, told Verizon’s Braxton Plummer how his organization is building reparative systems that create wealth, transform justice, and harness democratic power. ▶ Watch here.

Byte Back – Tech Training and Digital Inclusion

Byte Back provides a pathway of inclusive tech training that leads to living-wage careers. Elizabeth Lindsey, former CEO, told Verizon’s Mario Acosta-Velez how her DC-based organization is expanding digital inclusion. ▶ Watch here.

Urban League of Philadelphia – Digital Inclusion and Training

The Urban League of Philadelphia is a community leader in digital inclusion, tech training, community development, and education – helping the City of Philadelphia’s minority community residents build tech skills to pursue new careers and build a better future for themselves and their families. Andrea Custis, President and CEO, told Verizon’s Jennifer Young about their work in the community, including programs to prevent homelessness and address digital equity gaps. ▶ Watch here.

Girls Inspired and Ready to Lead (GIRL) – STEM Education

GIRL is an organization in Northern Virginia that is working to empower teen girls for future success through education, leadership, self-esteem, career preparation, and community service. Danielle Craddock, Founder and Executive Director, told Verizon’s Jessica Chait that her organization’s STEM Education Programs, including the Tech GIRL program, have been particularly impactful. ▶ Watch here.

Asian American Youth Leadership Empowerment and Development (AALEAD) – Education and Community

 AALEAD is a recognized leader in education, and its programs help Asian American students build a strong academic foundation to enhance learning and prepare to pursue higher education. Akil Vohra, Executive Director, told Verizon’s Mario Acosta-Velez about his organization’s mission, programs, and impact in the Asian American community, especially during such difficult times. ▶ Watch here.

Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce – Small Business Development

 The Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce works to develop, promote, and advocate for Latino-owned businesses in the region. Jennifer Rodriguez, President and CEO, told Verizon’s Pedro Romero how her organization does this through educational programs, business development, and a broad range of services and events. ▶ Watch here in English and Spanish.

Bright Minds Foundation – Education and Literacy

Bright Minds Foundation is an education organization in Howard County, MD that’s helping students and their families develop their love of reading and learning. Elizabeth Crammond, former Executive Director, told Verizon’s Tiffany Harvey how her organization supports the academic development of children and the engagement of parents in their children’s education. ▶ Watch here.

Patriots Technology Training Center – STEM Education

Patriots Technology and Training Center is a leader in STEM education and workforce development that is helping youth build a strong academic foundation, interest, and engagement in STEM fields. Thurman Jones, President, told Verizon’s Candice Austin about the Prince George’s County, MD-based organization and how it has worked diligently for 24 years to place more than 1,500 youth into the job pipeline for the STEM careers of the future. ▶ Watch here.

Latino Student Fund – STEM Education

Latino Student Fund supports DC’s underserved youth through in and out of school educational programs. Maria Fernanda Borja, President and CEO, told Verizon’s Mario Acosta-Velez about the STEM curriculum her organization offers and how it adapted given the COVID environment. ▶ Watch here in English and Spanish.  

Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District (LPCCD) – Arts and Culture

LPCCD is promoting and championing cultural/arts programs in the historical Lincoln Park neighborhood of downtown Newark, NJ. Anthony Smith, Executive Director, told Verizon’s Mark Bocchieri about his organization’s mission, programs, and impact, including what it’s doing to create a more sustainable community. ▶ Watch here.

Legal Aid Justice Center – Legal Services and Advocacy

Legal Aid Justice Center works to tackle unjust systems that cause and perpetuate poverty. Angela Ciolfi, Executive Director, told Verizon’s Tom Walls about her Charlottesville, VA-based organization’s work to fight for equal justice. ▶ Watch here

United Way of Southwest Virginia – Community Support Services

United Way of Southwest Virginia addresses the challenges the Southwest VA workforce face by creating sustainable solutions. Travis Staton, President and CEO, told Verizon’s Matt Ogburn how his organization is uplifting Southwest VA residents. ▶ Watch here.

Miriam’s Kitchen – Homelessness Services and Community

Miriam’s Kitchen provides comprehensive direct services (meals to housing) and advocates to end long-term homelessness in Washington, DC. Scott Schenkelberg, CEO, told Verizon’s Mario Acosta-Velez about his organization’s work to build a better future for all DC residents. ▶ Watch here.

Edu-Futuro – Education

Edu-Futuro was founded by immigrant parents in 1998 and supports Latino youth with mentoring, education, and leadership development to help them realize their full potential. Jorge Figueredo, Executive Director, told Verizon’s Mario Acosta-Velez about his Virginia-based organization’s mission, programs, and significant impact serving the Hispanic community. ▶ Watch here.

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US Tech Future is a Verizon-led community-focused initiative working to engage the local community in a discussion about technology and how it can improve the lives of local residents for their benefit and the benefit of the community as a whole.

Our mission is to engage with citizens and community stakeholders in USA to provide information on how technology can work to have a dramatic impact on the way we work and live in our communities.