Lift Zone program provides free internet access for childcare centers across Spokane

SPOKANE, Wash. — The kids at Green Gable Children’s Early Learning Center learn how to spell, share, sing—just like kids everywhere. You wouldn’t be able to tell that half of them don’t have working internet.

“It seems like it would be so easy to adjust to. It’s been very hard,” said Nichole Gonzalez.

Gonzalez is a mother. She’s also a teacher at Green Gable Children’s Early Learning Center. Despite being an educator, she says this transition has been far from perfect.

“If I didn’t have her here, I think it would be even harder,” said Gonzalez.

The learning center is part of Comcast’s Lift Zone program. The Program provides free internet access to child care centers for students who may not have it at home.

“The students love it. They love being able to participate and the network is robust enough that multiple students can participate at the exact same time. It is really a key to making sure that they don’t get left behind right now,” said Kris Workman, Director of Technical Operations for Comcast.

With the help of Community-Minded Enterprises, Spokane Public Schools, and the Washington Childcare Centers Association, they were able to bring the program closer to home.

“For sure in this building, more than 50% of the children would not have internet access at all.” Rebecca Lee, Owner of Green Gable Children’s Early Learning Center.

Green Gable is just one of the 12 childcare centers in the Spokane area involved in the program.

“I think that we forget that it’s not equal for everybody in our community,” said Lee.

It’s a reality that Gonzalez has experienced firsthand. While she now has internet at home, she knows many who aren’t in the same boat.

“Watching all the people around me struggle and not having that access, it sucks for them. It makes me feel really sad,” Gonzalez said.

She hopes with this new program, no other parent will have to watch their child fall behind.

“I think it has just really made a difference and has been so helpful to everyone,” said Gonzalez.