Community Technology Bill signed!

Sophie Gilbert, 4-H Network News reporter, receives a pen from Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire, during the signing ceremony for Engrossed Second Substitute Senate Bill No. 6438. This bill represents 1.5 million dollars of funding for community technology programs across Washington State, especially those programs that serve people of color, those impacted by poverty, as well as the disabled.

Sophie Gilbert, Souhil Alazani and Tyrus Wilcox (in photo at right), all 4-H Network News reporters, were part of a research field study cohort interviewed by the University of Washington earlier this year. The data from this research helped document the positive impact of community technology programs across Washington State. Also interviewed were Pamela Roberts, 4-H Network News advisor and Jefferson County 4-H coordinator, and Robert Force, coordinator of the WSU Learning Center North Olympic Peninsula - in whose computer lab 4-H Network News youth often meet. The results appeared in the UW's Information School (UW iSchool) newsletter this fall, and tell a compelling story about technology in our state and the "digital divide" we have in Washington.

Out of 211 organizations identified in the study, 47 responded to the research team's telephone survey, and field studies were conducted at seven, including 4-H Network News. The research, coupled with individual organization's stories, was presented to the Washington State Legislature by a coalition of community technology providers organized through the Communities Connect Network.

The Communities Connect Network (CCN), of which 4-H Network News is a partner, is a statewide coalition of public and private organizations that provide community technology --public Internet access, skill training, content development, and online services--to underserved populations in Washington. CCN advocates "digital inclusion,"the movement to ensure that all individuals have equitable access to and the skills to use information technologies to unlock the education, job, health, and civic tools they need.

Laversa Sullivan of Tacoma's Computer Clubhouse and Evergreen State College with Gov. Christine Gregoire at the signing.

Congratulations, Sophie, Souhil and Tyrus on a great job explaining the positive impact that community technology programs can have in the lives of rural youth and citizens! If you are interested in 4-H Network News, call Pamela Roberts, Jefferson County 4-H coordinator, at 360-379-5610 or write to her at

You can reach the Community Connects Network at their website: