Google announced on Tuesday they awarded three grants to Pryor Public Schools, the Thunderbird Youth Academy and Safenet Services to fund computer labs for each of them.
Google operates a data center in Mayes County, and the support from these grants, which totals $122,500, will benefit students and adults in the area.
Google will fund a $62,500 grant to Pryor Public Schools. The grant, part of Google's STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) program, was issued through the Google Inc. Charitable Giving Fund of the Tides Foundation and will be used to purchase three laptop labs at the elementary level and will also fund a robotics program at the secondary level. This expansion of STEM education funding in Pryor is necessary in part due to the Gateway to Technology (GTT) program and the JASON project, a program that connects students to real science and exploration which Google funded this year at the junior high level.
"With the success of the GTT engineering program and the initial success of the JASON project, we have seen great interest in this area of science among our students," Superintendent Don Raleigh said. "This is exciting for our school district, but it has been a challenge to meet the need we have generated. Through this grant we will be able to help more students excel in the sciences."
Google also awarded funds to the Thunderbird Youth Academy, a free program offered by the Oklahoma National Guard for students who have dropped out of school, TYA will receive a $50,000 Google community grant for computers, software and equipment that will expand access to the Internet and other instructional technology for the organization's GED and credit recovery program.
"Providing this grant will improve the lives of at-risk youth who have made the effort to overcome their environments and make a change in their lives," Dylan Bird, director of Thunderbird Youth Academy Foundation, said. "It will allow Thunderbird Youth Academy to provide our communities with young men and women who are disciplined, determined and equipped with skills to succeed."
Safenet Services, a certified domestic violence/sexual assault agency in Rogers and Mayes Counties, was awarded $10,000 to fund a computer lab that will be used for computer skills training and financial literacy programs to individuals in Claremore and Pryor.
"Taking the steps to educate clients and equip them with computer skills and financial knowledge and planning will help them secure a better future for themselves and their families," Executive Director of Safenet Services Donna Grabow said.
"We can see the excitement and demand for technology in our community among all ages," Google Oklahoma Data Center Operations Manager Mike Wooten said. "Pryor Schools, Safenet Services and the Thunderbird Youth Academy are doing so much good for the people of Mayes County. We are happy to support their efforts and to make technology more accessible for our neighbors."
Google's community grant program supports organizations and initiatives that focus on the issues of technological literacy and innovation, renewable energy innovation, access to high-speed Internet and new economy entrepreneurship. To learn more about Google's community grant program, visit www.google.com/mayescounty