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W&M IT Gives a Head Start to Williamsburg Children

In the past year, W&M IT has donated decommissioned laptops to children in Ghana and Ecuador. However, this time, you need not hop on a plane to see the destination of our latest donation.(left to right) Deputy CIO Bernadette Kenney with Delta Sigma Theta sisters Bailey Rose, Ashley Pettway, and Danielle Laing, and IT's Director of Systems and Support Chris Ward

Last week Bernadette Kenney, Deputy CIO of the W&M IT department, donated her Dell laptop to the Williamsburg Head Start program via the sisters of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. “I just wanted to do something good for the community,” said Kenney. “I really liked that this project benefits the local Williamsburg area.”

The Williamsburg Head Start program benefits children ages 3-5 and provides services to promote academic, social, and emotional development for income-eligible families.

Ashley Pettway, Class of 2013, created the family literacy program Early Readers, Future Leaders as part of her job as Social Action Chair for Delta Sigma Theta. Through this program and a grant from the Office of Community Engagement, these women have been able to collect and donate hundreds of books for Williamsburg Head Start participants over the past two years.

“Our chapter has an emphasis on service,” said Pettway. “We want to overcome the idea of one-dimensional literacy. We really strive to celebrate these children’s backgrounds, while helping them in the most effective ways possible.” Many participants in the Williamsburg Head Start program come from minority backgrounds, while some come from non-English speaking households. To bridge the gap between life at home and life at school, Early Readers, Future Leaders has provided books featuring various protagonists that are relatable to children of all races and backgrounds. Sisters of Delta Sigma Theta supporting their philanthropic organization Early Readers, Future Leaders

This computer donation will be used to promote self-sufficiency and decrease poverty through the promotion of digital literacy. The computer will stay in the Head Start building for access to educational sites and early literacy information. There will also be open hours where parents and guardians can take turns using the computer to access their email accounts and increase their digital literacy. 

In this digital age, it’s easy to forget to appreciate literacy and the simple act of reading a good story. So whether on your laptop, or in a leather bound book, take some time from your busy days to read and celebrate literacy.