Microsoft DC office teams up with local non-profit Horton’s Kids

Microsoft DC office teams up with local non-profit Horton’s Kids
Posted by Matt Gelman
Senior Director for Congressional Affairs, Microsoft

Last night, Microsoft joined the DC community in celebrating the work of Horton’s Kids, a Washington, D.C. non-profit dedicated to providing comprehensive services to 300 children and 100 families in D.C.’s Ward 8 neighborhood. The event featured elected officials including Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Congressional and Administration staff, Microsoft colleagues, and more than 200 community members and supporters of Horton’s Kids. All gathered to honor the work of Horton’s Kids and watch the Food Network’s Restaurant: Impossible episode, featuring First Lady Michelle Obama. In the episode, the First Lady challenges Chef Robert Irvine to renovate a community center for Horton’s Kids.

I’ve been involved with Horton’s Kids since I met the founder Karin Walser over 20 years ago when we both worked on Capitol Hill. Karin opened my eyes to the needs of the children in this community and her vision for an organization to provide basic services that most people take for granted, including nutritious meals, after-school tutoring, and access to learning tools. Yet we know that too many families in communities across America face an “opportunity divide” – a gap between those who have the access, skills and opportunities to succeed in a 21st century economy, and those who do not.

As a Board Member now for Horton’s Kids for the past 8 years, I am really proud of Microsoft’s Citizenship mission to create opportunities for youth through technology, training, and experiences that empower them to not only imagine their full potential, but realize it. Microsoft is focused on trying to help bridge the opportunity divide, particularly for young people who have amazing potential, yet are more vulnerable to economic hardships and need the right support.

As part of our support for the Horton’s Kids renovation, Microsoft donated equipment and software for a state-of-the-art computer lab to support the children served by their Community Resource Center. Microsoft staff also installed the technology in the center, which included 14 new computers, 16 computer monitors, and 29 portable Acer Tablets all uploaded with the most current software to assist in the mobile tutoring program. The new computers will not only help the children become more adept at using technology but will also help neighborhood parents – who are able to take advantage of the community center – create resumes, search for jobs online, and communicate with potential employers via email. Microsoft also donated a server and software, as well as two Xbox 360 gaming consoles with flat screens equipped with the popular technology Kinect, which allows the children to exercise in a safe, fun, and controller-free environment.

This new computer lab is important because it will help support Horton’s Kids efforts to provide tutoring and learning skills such as reading, writing and arithmetic. It will also be used as a more advanced training center onsite and “mobile” through the community for both kids in the program and their families.

Microsoft is proud to help support Horton’s Kids, which is improving the lives of children in our community. The work of this organization and their mission to serve as a “second family” is an inspiration to me and my colleagues at Microsoft. We hope this new technology lab will help many more DC kids like Anthony Simon be prepared for – and realize – their dreams. Anthony gave the keynote speech at the event and is one of the many success stories from the Horton’s Kids program. I hope you will take a minute to read Anthony’s remarks [insert hyperlink] about what the program has meant to him and his family. He is why I am so proud to be involved with Horton’s Kids.