By Richard Meek

The Catholic Commentator  

A donation from Cox Communications will allow members of the Hispanic community to develop their computer literacy skills and even learn how to navigate the Internet.

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Cox Communications recently donated 10 laptop computers to the Hispanic Apostolate. Pictured, from left, are Father Robert Halter CSsR, chaplain of the Hispanic Apostolate; Anselmo Rodriguez, past chairman of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana; Mayra Pineda, president and CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; and, Julia Scarnato, executive director of the Hispanic Apostolate. Photo by Richard Meek | The Catholic Commentator


Cox recently donated 10 Chrome Books to the Hispanic Apostolate, which will be accessible to the Hispanic community at the apostolate’s office in north Baton Rouge. 

“This a dream come true, something we have been working on for two years,” said Hispanic Apostolate director Julia Scarnato. “I’m so grateful because now people can have access to the Internet. For me, this is big.” 

Tracy White, a Cox public affairs specialist, said the company constantly seeks opportunities to assist the Baton Rouge community. Because of Cox’s relationship with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, which is based in New Orleans but serves the entire state, company officials became aware of the need for the laptops in the Hispanic community. 

“We have the resources to be able to do it,” White said. 

Through Cox’s online Digital Academy, area Hispanics will be able to learn such basics as how to turn on a computer and even use a mouse. But as their technology skills progress, they will be exposed to more critical options, such as applying for jobs, looking for a house or even connecting their utilities, all online. 

Additionally, students will be able to complete homework assignments or perform research utilizing the computers. 

Cox launched its Digital Academy several years ago and two years ago began developing the program in Spanish, the first foreign language translation of the online academy.

“That is what makes it so exciting,” White said. “Data has shown children connected to the Internet do much better in school. They perform better when they have access to resources outside of the classroom. 

“We have come together to offer and have digital literacy skills in Spanish, which is a tremendous asset for family and children.” 

Mayra Pineda, president and CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, said her organization has a workforce center in New Orleans but was looking for a partner in Baton Rouge. She was acutely aware of the need to bridge the gap into higher education and literacy. 

“So we looked for a partner in the Baton Rouge area and what could be more logical than partnering with someone already serving the community, in all different needs?” she said. “I think it’s a win-win for all.” 

Jeremy Theriot, also of Cox, said the Spanish community “really cares about their people in a way that doesn’t see borders, city lines or county lines.” 

“What we’re doing with the Internet and this program is bridging that digital divide, that homework divide,” he said.