Josué de Paz is the founder of First Tech Fund, a non-profit organization that aims to close the digital divide by helping students living in poverty have access to computers.
Josué de Paz is a recipient of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), who came to the United States at age five. Since he was a child he identified the importance of having tools such as a computer on the internet. This skill led him to found the First Tech Fund during the pandemic.
Faced with the COVID-19 outbreak and the start of online classes, Josué realized that students with limited resources to access computer equipment would be affected by their online learning.
Thus, the First Tech Fund was born, a non-profit organization whose mission is "to bridge the digital divide by supporting students from underserved backgrounds with technology, practical skills and opportunities to succeed in the modern world."
The New York City-based organization seeks to provide students with access to the internet and computers at home through various programs, which include:
- Laptops and a mobile hotspot with unlimited data during the school year
- Workshops on email writing, financial literacy, and college readiness.
- A mentoring program for one year.
Scholarships for the programs are free and funded by the general public. At the moment, the program supports high school students from the five boroughs of New York City in grades 9 and 12, regardless of their average or immigration status.
Nicaurys Pérez, of Dominican origin, one of the first beneficiaries of the program recounts her experience: “Before I had a computer, I shared one with my sister. The wifi helped not only me, but my mother and my sister because between the pandemic, many prices, that financial burden for my mother was a lot. Be able to remove a bill from the internet, it helped her too much. "
After a year and a half of work in New York, First Tech Fund has managed to benefit nearly 140 students. His plan contemplates an expansion to get students from other locations to access his programs.
To apply click on the following link: https://firsttechfund.com/apply