In eighth grade, Daniel worked at his public library teaching senior citizens and young children computer and Internet skills. After class, a senior citizen explained that his wheelchair bound neighbors could not leave their facility and learn how to use the internet, as “their world was growing smaller” and they “were losing touch with their grandchildren” since today’s youth use email rather than write letters.
Dan contacted local and national agencies for help without success, identifying a hole in our community’s social network. Consequently and with $4,000 that he had saved to buy a car, he founded Net Literacy; a youth empowered 501(c) (3).
Since 2003, Net Literacy has increased computer access, computer and Internet literacy and Internet safety awareness to inner-city and other underserved individuals. It also teaches youths leadership, life-skills and provides them an opportunity to serve their community.
As President and founder, Daniel mobilized schools and partnered with over 200 nonprofits to reduce the digital divide, ranging from the AARP to the Boys and Girls Club and from local anti-gang community centers to the Salvation Army. He successfully drafted and lobbied the Indiana State Legislature to pass “The Net Literacy Bill,” and recruited US Senators Lugar and Bayh, Fort Wayne Mayor Graham, and Indiana Department of Education’s Superintendent, Dr. Reed, to his Honorary Board. Daniel partnered with IUPUI to provide $100,000’s in scholarships for inner city Net Literacy volunteers.
Daniel founded Net Literacy in middle school, and has since served as its President, Youth Chair, and on its Board of Directors. He expanded the scope of Net Literacy to include internet safety and an initiative that provided 1000 computers for inner city schools during the first half of 2008. Despite being diagnosed with a disability in 2005, Dan continues to be its driving force.
Under Daniel’s leadership, Net Literacy increased computer access to over 80,000 individuals in four states. Thousands of computers have been repurposed in an EPA-complaint manner, creating hundreds of public computer labs in HUD/Section 8 apartments, community/senior centers and neighborhood/faith-based nonprofits. Students teach youths and senior citizen computer skills, and over 800 students have engaged in youth philanthropy throughout the state. Two websites were constructed, and youths from New York to California now utilize Net Literacy’s programs. Daniel has increased awareness of the digital divide; receiving awards from President Clinton, General Powell, Senator Dole, and President Bush in a White House ceremony.
Net Literacy is a “youth empowered” nonprofit whose students manage all programs and comprise 50% of the Board. Dan significantly increased senior citizen internet participation by building over 100 computer labs inside independent living facilities and created an intergenerational program where students teach senior citizens on a “one-to-one” basis. He created a novel K-12 Internet safety program that is taught by students to “students and parents together” in schools. Net Literacy has initiated a state wide internet safety awareness program launched with a $100,000 media campaign, jointly announced by Net Literacy and the Indiana Department of Education.