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June 1, 2023

Building computer literacy in Kansas City

  • , community impact

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The Digital Inclusion Fellowship, a program Google Fiber co-founded with NTEN, equips leaders from nonprofits and municipal agencies with support to implement digital inclusion initiatives in their organizations. Today we’re introducing you to Erika García Reyes of Revolución Educativa in Kansas City, a Digital Inclusion Fellow from our 2023 cohort. 

Revolución Educativa is a nonprofit organization serving the Latino community in Kansas City. Our priority is to equip Latino parents with the tools they need to be able to use their voice to advocate for the needs of their children, especially in school.

Revolución Educativa is NOW

This year, that took on a whole new meaning through one of our newest programs, EducaTec, dedicated to addressing the digital divide within our community, which I was able to help develop through NTEN’s Digital Inclusion Fellowship program.

Before my fellowship, I didn’t feel like I had the ability to properly address the area of digital inclusion within our organization — despite understanding that it is an issue that permeates many of our community members’ lives.

This was especially illuminated when, during the pandemic, my own son was in preschool and needed to connect online. I have a master’s degree in public administration, and even with my high level of education, I still had a very difficult time trying to navigate some instructions for the programs used. I sat back and thought, if I, someone who was privileged enough to achieve such a high level of education, had trouble navigating these new systems, what happens to the rest of us — to those of us without the language access, the advocating power, and the opportunity to learn these new digital skills?


Thus began the research process. I collaborated with past NTEN fellows and my colleagues internally, and what we discovered was that the most critical barrier to entry was perhaps the most simple: How to use a computer.

From there, it all came together in my mind. I knew we needed to design a program that empowered the people we serve to learn how to effectively use a computer.

To date, we’ve officially graduated one cohort of 23 participants in our computer skills class. We met for eight weeks going over everything from creating an email account, to writing letters, to discussing the importance of financial literacy through technology, and we partnered with the Latino Arts Foundation who provided art mentorship for the kids that came with their parents. This allowed the parents to give their undivided attention to learning the curriculum, which was taught completely in Spanish.

Right now, we have about 80 individuals total who are participating in these programs over the summer  — and we have even more plans in development for these programs dedicated to addressing the digital divide through EducaTec. 

The success is very tangible. One participant, who’d only ever worked in the food industry, accepted a program assistant job in an office. Others are proud to be able to create and print a document to visit their home countries. 

I know how much the Latino community values education. My mom always told me growing up that your education is the most beautiful gift you’ll ever have, because nobody will ever be able to take away your knowledge. To be able to now be in the position to help provide that gift to my community is not something that I take lightly. That’s also why with my Fellowship, I decided to focus on the skills rather than the product. A computer is replaceable, but learning how to use a computer is not.

When I first started this program, I had no idea just how big the impact would be. Seeing students come back with so much interest, we knew that this was going to go so much further than we ever thought possible when we began. 

Posted by Erika García Reyes, MPA, Director of Strategic Initiatives at Revolución Educativa/Latinx Education Collaborative