Latino nonprofit bridging digital divide in South Omaha

An Omaha nonprofit is working to help bridge the digital divide among the Latino community.
Published: Apr. 20, 2023 at 6:05 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Whether you’re at school, work, or on the couch, technology is a part of everyday life.

The Latino Center of the Midlands is on a mission to provide more technology access to low-income students and break the digital divide in South Omaha.

The center’s goal is to help the Latino community but also to provide a space for many to learn and grow.

“In college, it was very hard for me to reach out to advisors and mentors and people in my scholarship program,” said Lizbeth Hermosillo-Najar. “I felt like I didn’t see the same people as myself and I couldn’t talk to them because they didn’t relate to my issues.”

As a development specialist for the center, things are different now. She works closely with the community and tackles all things related to video, computers, and media.

“At the Latino Center, they helped me dive into these programs and really know the in and outs,” Hermosillo-Najar said.

Hermosillo-Najar started as a student intern two years ago. At the time, she didn’t know much about technology. She blames the lack of resources and tech access she had in school.

“It’s so difficult to reach out because of that and, like I said, underfunded schools don’t have the same mentorship,” Hermosillo-Najar said.

It’s an issue a good portion of students in South Omaha face. Nowadays, a majority of schools require laptops to do homework.

“The digital divide that impacts South Omaha is substantial,” said Latino Center CEO Albert Varas. “Once you improve digital awareness, you’ll have a better grip on things like education and healthcare.”

Varas hopes their Siembra Medios internship program will help bridge the gap by providing students with real-life experience. It will teach students interested in technology the ropes of media.

Hermosillo-Najar said whether that’s learning how to use a camera or a laptop, the opportunity is there -- but most importantly, she wants to provide a safe space for those who come to learn.

“Getting them into a more creative field, there is that accessibility, there are places and positions for them, and they have a place for themselves and that career,” she said.