As Sacramentans gathered to celebrate the civil rights legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., Mayor Darrell Steinberg announced Monday that he would make a mid-year City budget request of $350,000 to create Teen Tech Hubs and Teen Hubs, events designed to provide fun, educational activities for teens at about 10 locations around Sacramento every Friday night.
Comcast announced that it will invest $300,000 in Sacramento youth: A $100,000 contribution will be for the Teen Hubs and $200,000 will go to create the Teen Tech Hubs in partnership with community-based organizations that will offer meaningful, interactive technology experiences and trainings for teens.
“Dr. King talked about the ‘fierce urgency of now’ in terms of securing civil rights,” Mayor Steinberg said. “The same urgency faces us as a City when it comes to our young people, and especially our young people of color. We’re so grateful that Comcast has stepped up to help make sure children from all our neighborhoods have access to experiences that provide them with a constructive community of their peers and help prepare them to participate in the 21st Century economy.”
He said the City and Comcast would work with the Sierra Health Foundation and community-based organizations to program the events.
Council member Rick Jennings says the partnership with Comcast is crucial. "That allows us to reach so many more youth who need us to reach them and give them the activities that will help them reach their full potential," said Jennings.
Comcast regional vice president Beth Hester says the tech events play into their ongoing efforts to close the digital divide. "How do we bring these youth on board to new technologies, emerging technologies? Or it could be an existing technology but one they haven't mastered," Hester tells KFBK.
Mayor Steinberg is looking to build on the success of the Youth Pop Up events held earlier this month with a $30,000 grant from the Sierra Health Foundation. With just a few days’ notice, community organizations staged 14 events around the city that drew an estimated 1,400 young people on the weekend of Jan. 4-6.
Activities offered included roller skating, basketball, a mobile barber shop/beautician, DJs, a photo booth, movies, ping pong, and a talent show.
If Mayor Steinberg’s funding request is granted by the Sacramento City Council, the money will be combined with the funding from Comcast to offer free weekend Tech Hubs and Teen Hubs across Sacramento neighborhoods through June, at which point Mayor Steinberg said he hopes to have secured more permanent funding in the City’s annual budget.