The "digital divide" narrowed a bit Friday when AT&T Broadband donated a computer lab to the Capitol West Boys and Girls Club.
The lab includes six computers, cable modems and high-speed Internet access through the company's AT&T@Home service.
"It's the fastest connection you can get right now," Gary Boles, AT&T Broadband senior vice president, told several dozen children who gathered for the announcement and an online scavenger hunt.
Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch said the access to technology "will have a positive impact" on the children. "You are some of the few kids in the whole world who will have that. The greatest gift you can give a child is the tools and opportunities to learn."
The Capitol West club, which serves nearly 900 boys and girls each year, was founded in 1975 at the old Jackson Junior High, partly as an answer to the poverty and juvenile crime taking place at that time in the area, said founder Jim Jensen. Arrest rates dropped 75 percent the first year. As many as 145 children use the club each weekday and the first order of business, without exception, is completing homework assignments.
Three of the children, Felix Carerra, Alaura Bulow and Amy Alires, demonstrated different aspects of the system to the other children before they divided into teams for the scavenger hunt.
Last year AT&T donated its @Home service to the Boys and Girls Club in Sugarhouse. The company's "High Speed Education Connection" is also free to all schools and public libraries passed by two-way cable in Utah, including free installation and a cable modem.