Celebrating Digital Inclusion Week: Building Connected Communities

Celebrating Digital Inclusion Week: Building Connected Communities

Digital Inclusion Week starts on October 2, and we are excited to highlight some of the ways Easterseals Southern California (ESSC) is working toward closing the digital divide for people with disabilities.

This year’s theme is “Building Connected Communities,” signaling a turning point and a time of action for the digital inclusion movement.

While the world becomes increasingly reliant on technology for day-to-day living, the digital divide continues to grow for some communities, including the disability community. Digital Inclusion Week aims to raise awareness of solutions addressing home internet access, personal devices, and local technology training and support programs.

Adult Day Services participants use laptops from the Tech Lending Library to help with their job search.

“Technology has increasingly become a part of everyone’s day-to-day lives, but some communities have not been given the same opportunities as others,” said Reese Peterson, Director of the ESSC Lending Library. “The pandemic highlighted the fact that the disability community was not being given an equal opportunity to access and utilize tech. With the Technology Lending Library, we can bridge that divide and positively impact digital equity and inclusion for the community.”

At a glance: Participants served with our digital equity programs

ESSC is proud to be involved in several projects that advance digital equity among the disability community and beyond, in collaboration with five Regional Centers: Eastern Los Angeles, Frank D. Lanterman, San Gabriel/Pomona, Harbor, North Los Angeles County.

To date, we’ve served 500+ individuals through these programs.

Here’s a breakdown of the devices we’ve distributed to Easterseals participants and their families through programs like our Tech Lending Library:

· 310+ iPads

· 125+ Laptops

· 70+ JayPads (Includes ADS participants as well as Tech Lending Library participants)

Learn more about our digital equity offerings and programs:

Adult Day Services’ participant Jocelyn connects with her mom, Georgia on the JayPad – an Android tablet designed with specialized software tailored for individuals with disabilities to do things like automatically join meetings.

Technology Lending Library 

The Technology Lending Library program provides Laptops, iPads, JayPads (an Android tablet with a self-charging stand and a Zoom auto-join feature), training, and support to people with disabilities who receive services at North Los Angeles County, San Gabriel Pomona, Eastern Los Angeles, Frank D. Lanterman, and Harbor Regional Centers.

JayPad Tablet Training

As part of the Technology Lending Library Program, ESSC provides JayPad training to people with disabilities who are referred by one of five participating Regional Centers.

Hear Our Voices

Hear Our Voices is a multi-pronged program supporting ESSC’s participants of all ages impacted by communication delays or disorders resulting in complex communication needs.

We provide short- and long-term access to iPads with advanced communication applications for those who are in need. Interested participants can email vop@ess.org.

Free Wi-Fi

ESSC partnered with the City of Los Angeles Mayor’s Office Angeleno Connectivity Trust (ACT) Program to provide free Wi-Fi hotspot internet devices to those receiving Regional Center services who are struggling to access online classes and support services.

If you are interested in receiving a free Wi-Fi hotspot, please reach out to Director of the Technology Lending Library Reese Peterson at reese.peterson@essc.org or call (714)909-6135.


ESSC is proud to support Digital Inclusion Week as we continue to find ways to ensure people with disabilities have access to technology so they can live independently in their communities. Learn more about Digital Inclusion Week.

About the Author:

Kelly Lapadula is the Digital Marketing Manager for Easterseals Southern California. In this role, she enjoys sharing stories that connect Easterseals' services with their local communities. While Kelly joined the Easterseals SoCal team in 2022, her history with the non-profit began in 2013, when she interned at the National office in Chicago. Kelly is thrilled to be back, working to increase awareness of the disability services Easterseals provides throughout Southern California.

Leave A Comment