Transforming Lives: Digital Inclusion Initiative Empowers Haitian Family

In the neighborhood of Lantana, the Baptiste family, comprising parents Justin and Ivana, and their two children, Juskiana and Abel— Originally from Haiti, the family initially moved to Ecuador before finding their way to the United States in pursuit of a better life. Facing immense challenges, including a lack of internet access that hindered the children’s education, they lived below the poverty level and grappled with uncertainty about their next meal.

The turning point came when they received a Wi-Fi extender, a beacon of hope igniting a transformative journey through the Digital Initiative Program aimed at dismantling the digital divide in Palm Beach County. This initiative not only bridged the digital gap for the family but also connected them with a digital literacy coach from the Education Foundation of Palm Beach County who provided in-home visits and coaching sessions, teaching essential digital literacy skills, opening up a world of possibilities that had previously been beyond their reach, and empowering the Baptiste family to navigate the online world.

“The program introduced in my life with my two children has been a blessing. We arrived in the United States without understanding English; my two children speak Spanish and Creole. I was always afraid because I didn’t want them to struggle to learn due to the language difficulty. When I heard about the program and how it could benefit our lives, it was very pleasant. Both of my children can now understand the language well; they can do their homework because they have access to the internet. As for me, I am learning English. The internet installed at my home gives me the opportunity to learn and encourages my children.” – Justine Baptiste, Parent

The impact on the family was profound. With internet access, Juskiana and Abel, once hindered by the constraints of offline resources, now thrive academically. The family, initially struggling with food insecurity, found assistance through local resources like 211, which ensured access to meals and connected the family through the Caridad Center, which addressed their healthcare needs.

Justin, previously unemployed, not only secured a job but also embarked on the journey of learning English at the local school. The Wi-Fi extender and coaching played a crucial role in supporting his language-learning efforts and creating opportunities for professional growth. Ivana, recognizing the importance of language proficiency, also enrolled in English classes at the school, further contributing to the family’s holistic advancement.

The story of the Baptiste family is one of resilience, empowerment, and community support. The Digital Inclusion initiative, backed by various partnerships throughout Palm Beach County and the state, not only equipped the family with digital literacy skills but also provided access to vital resources that addressed their immediate needs. From struggling to understand English, the family now communicates effectively in their new language, opening doors to better opportunities. The Baptiste family’s journey is a testament to the transformative power of digital inclusion. Beyond technological challenges, it illustrates how a comprehensive program can uplift a family, offering not only connectivity and education but also addressing fundamental challenges they faced upon their arrival in the U.S. Today, the Baptiste family stands as a beacon of success, having turned their struggles into triumphs with the support of the Digital Inclusion Initiative and the caring coaching provided by the Education Foundation of Palm Beach County.

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