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August 28, 2008
Toronto Social Services and Fire Services help kids and parents cross the digital divide
The kids@computers scholarship project recently held its fifth annual Fire Services Training Event, together with Toronto Social Services. This award-winning project provides home computers to children in low income families. As part of the project, children and parents attend computer orientation sessions and participate in a mentoring day with Toronto Fire Services.

This year, 26 child attendees, together with their siblings and parents participated in an expanded learning session at the Toronto Fire Academy. Fire fighters taught the children about fire safety in the home, the value of physical fitness, how to devise safety escape plans and how technology is used in emergencies. Of particular interest for parents was a session on computer use and internet safety.

The kids@computers scholarship project has helped over 30,000 children cross the digital divide by providing computers and training. In 2008, an estimated 1,200 families, including approximately 2,500 children, will participate in the project.

Children aged 8 to 14 years are eligible to participate in the kids@computers scholarship project. Applications are available by calling 416-392-8610. As part of the application, the child applicant must write a short essay about why they want a computer and include a letter of reference from a professional adult in a position of responsibility.

Recent recipients have stated the following in their applications: “Other students in my class have the advantage because they have access to computers and their projects are creative. Even though my mother is trying, I need a computer because she cannot afford one at the moment.”

Another recipient stated, “my family and I don’t have a lot of extra money. My mom is on social assistance for a disability, so money is limited. My mom is doing her best, but I know it would be unfair to even ask for a computer, knowing that her having to say no would make her feel bad. She encourages my brother and sister and me to excel in school, and I know if she could afford it, she would get us our own computer.”

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years, Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contact:
Darrin Vermeersch, Manager of Research Development and Reporting, Toronto Social Services, 416-397-5518,



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