Governor Patton Hosts Grand Opening of

August 2, 2001

Kentucky Governor Paul E. Patton joined several high-profile organizations and corporations on Monday, July 30, to celebrate the opening of a PowerUP learning lab at the Cowan Community Center in Whitesburg, Kentucky. The learning lab is the first PowerUP site in an economically distressed Appalachian county.

In addition to the Cowan Community Center, which is sponsored by the nonprofit group Save the Children, PowerUP and the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) have agreed to establish more than a dozen additional learning labs throughout the 13-state Appalachian Region, including at least one more site in eastern Kentucky.

PowerUP provides local community centers with “Power Packs,” a comprehensive package that includes computers, printers, free Internet access, switchers, routers, and educational software. Major foundation and corporate supporters of PowerUP include the Waitt Family Foundation, the Case Foundation, the AOL Time Warner Foundation, Gateway, Hewlett-Packard, and Cisco Systems.

“I would like to offer my personal thanks to everyone who is involved with this effort,” said Governor Patton. “The Cowan Community Center is a shining example of a partnership between government, private industry, and the community that is working today to give our children a better tomorrow.”

“The future growth and economic prosperity of the Appalachian Region depends on how well we educate our children,” said ARC Federal Co-Chairman Jesse L. White Jr. “By partnering with organizations like PowerUP and Save the Children, ARC can provide hundreds of additional youngsters the opportunity to bridge the digital divide and have greater access to new technologies.”

“Most of the children in Save the Children’s out-of-school-time programs come from homes without even the barest essentials,” said Catherine Milton, executive director of U.S. programs for Save the Children. “It goes without saying that these children have little or no access to computers and the technology revolution taking place around them. Save the Children is convinced that digital literacy is as critical as traditional literacy, not only to being a successful student, but, ultimately, to finding and holding a job that will support a family. We are working with these children to provide them the same opportunities as their middle-class counterparts.”

“We will not forget the underserved children in America,” noted Rae Grad, CEO of PowerUP. “It does not matter if a child is from Kentucky, urban centers, or small towns, PowerUP will fight every step of the way to ensure that all of our children cross over the digital divide and have the best possible future. Our strength is in our partners. Today, we build a digital bridge together. Tomorrow, the sun will shine brighter on the children we reach.”