If you have been keeping up with Kramden’s blog, you will know that we have a few partners that help us to distribute computers across the Triangle. The Green Chair Project and Marcus Harris Foundation give desktops to K-12 students or deliver tablets to classrooms. But those are not the only devices we give out through our programs. Since 2022, Kramden has been partnering on a project that makes use of the many smartphones that are dropped off at our warehouse.
Kramden has partnered with the University of North Carolina Addiction Medicine Program to provide phones to outpatient clients. Kramden recognizes that while a large-screen device with a keyboard usually provides the best experience, for this program a phone is an accessible and appropriate device. Participants in the program use their refurbished smartphone to contact their doctor and attend telehealth appointments. In this outpatient program, patients who lack reliable transportation receive a cell phone so that they can keep up with appointments and communicate with the UNC addiction medicine team no matter where they are.
With the increase in telehealth patients during COVID, Kate Roberts with UNC Addiction Medicine began reaching out to various groups for phone donations. Although some phones were obtained through individual donors, it wasn’t enough. Roberts contacted Kramden for help. Since September of 2022, the Addiction Medicine program has distributed 53 Kramden phones to their patients.
The majority of the recipients live in rural areas and do not have reliable transportation to attend in-person appointments in Chapel Hill. When a patient leaves the clinic, the phone is theirs to keep. Elaina Young, a social worker with UNC who has been distributing the phones, said that “being able to give someone tech for free has helped people to engage in treatment. The phones allow rural individuals and those without transportation to access care.”
Kramden values its partnerships that allow us to make a greater impact in the community. By working with organizations like UNC and Green Chair, we are able to meet the needs of a variety of people. The digital divide cannot be closed with a single solution and Kramden is thankful for the many individuals and organizations who are all working together to achieve digital equity in North Carolina.