Estella Pyfrom understands the importance of technology and its effect on learning. During her years as a guidance counselor, the CNN Heroes of 2013 nominee realized that few students had access to a computer after school. This lack of technology in students’ households was due to the economy: families prioritized their money and used it towards basic needs (i.e. food, rent) rather than towards technology. Because of this, Pyfrom feared these students would fall behind due to the large increase of technology in everyday use.
This concern is what launched Estella’s Brilliant Bus. In 2011 Pyfrom bought a bus and filled it with computers in order to provide technology to children. With her bus, she is hoping that less fortunate children are able to receive the same opportunities as other children. According to the Institute of the Study of Labor, “students who lack access to a home are less likely to graduate high school.” With Estella’s Brilliant Bus, Pyfrom and her volunteers target children ages three and up, providing classes and tutoring sessions on Internet basics, reading, math, and science classes. Older students are able to receive GED and college preparatory assistance, peer mediation classes, and even leadership training.
Through Estella’s Brilliant Bus, Pyfrom and her team have provided over 8,000 hours of computer education to at least 500 children a year. She has seen students benefit in both academics and life skills just by receiving one-on-one time with a computer. She hopes to not only see her services spread throughout the country, but also continue to help students keep up with technology’s rapidly growing presence in the world.
To read more about Estella’s Brilliant Bus, please check out the CNN article, ‘Brilliant Bus’ shrinking digital divide or visit the Estella’s Brilliant Bus website.
Are you part of a community group, non-profit, or association working with children, parents, educators or members of the community? Interested in their use of technology? Get involved with Speak Up! Schools and districts are not the only participants collecting data from this valuable survey, many organizations are using Speak Up data to help with their own planning. If you are interested in getting your organization involved, please contact Jenny Hostert on the Speak Up Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Speak Up is open to anyone interested in participating and sharing their thoughts on critical 21st century education and technology issues. Take the survey today at: www.speakup4schools.org/speakup2013 and be sure to share with your network of friends and family! Every voice counts!
Thank you for reading and have a great day!
-Project Tomorrow Team
Written by: Lisa Chu UCI Fall Intern 2013