BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)– A new computer lab on the East Side is helping Buffalo’s inner-city youth click their way to success.

With the help of the Buffalo Urban League and Dreamerscorp Buffalo, AT&T created their second computer lab in a digital desert in New York State. This is a part of the company’s New York Digital Literary Lab initiative, where they plan to add five computer labs into digital deserts around New York State.

“AT&T is committed to leveraging technology and social innovation to help give New Yorkers, regardless of age, gender, race or social economic status, the opportunity to succeed, by creating new learning environments.” said Kevin Hanna, the Director of External Affairs of AT&T.

Local leaders appreciate these efforts to bridge the digital divide in our youth, helping leave no child behind.

“For those of us who have reliable internet service, it’s easy to forget that many of our neighbors lack that same thing that we take for granted.” said NYS Senator Sean Ryan (D).

According to Senator Ryan, it’s estimated that more that 11,400 students in the City of Buffalo are impacted by the digital divide and that 1 out of every 25 households in upstate New York have no access, or restricted access to the internet.

“If we don’t all succeed, none of us actually succeed.” said Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, “Today in 2022, where it’s an necessity to have access and connectivity to access to this sort of equipment in our community. People are not going to survive into the future if they do not have this.”

The Community Center @ CRUCIAL, located at 230 Moselle St., now has 30 new computers, printers, 3D printers, broadband & software, digital literacy classes to help children gain more technological skills.

Parents from around the community say they’ve seen the pandemic impact children’s learning, and they hope this lab can help them catch up.

“There’s so many barriers with us having that period of going through Covid, kids being at home.” said Fierra Green, “There’s that gap that we’re able to bridge now to help kids succeed, to pass and go to the next level and get back on track to where they were before we had the pandemic.”

Hope Winter is a reporter and multimedia journalist who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.