LEWISTON — UScellular has donated 56 wireless hot spots and two years of service to the YMCA of Auburn-Lewiston as part of its After School Access Project with a value of more than $63,000.

More than 40 million people in the United States lack reliable access to high-speed internet. This leads to an issue known as the “homework gap” among youth who lack proper internet access. UScellular’s After School Access Project provides free mobile hot spots and service to nonprofits that support youth after the school day has ended and provides safe internet access for homework and education.

“In 2021, the YMCA partnered with McMahon Elementary School to develop a program to provide support for 34 children in grades 4-6,” said Steven Wallace, chief executive officer of the YMCA of Auburn-Lewiston. “More than 70% of our before- and after-school students qualify for financial assistance and are deemed at or below the poverty line. The hot spots will greatly help us reduce the homework gap for students and families.”

Hot spots are stand-alone Wi-Fi networks that can connect several devices at once wirelessly and have proven to be a tool for youth to access the internet, study and complete homework. The hot spots provided through the After School Access Project connect to UScellular’s network to provide high-speed connectivity for youth throughout Auburn-Lewiston while at the YMCA or at their home.

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