We believe that WiFi or access to the Internet is as important as access to water during this public health crisis.
Our goal is to help facilitate free, no-strings-attached access to WiFi during this public health crisis. Without WiFi, access to education, telemedicine, employment, food delivery, social connections, and up to the minute news updates is greatly hindered.
How did we get started?
“Don’t get mad, get numbers.” – This is what I tell students and others when educating them on Social Determinants of Health, Communications, or Data Analytics.
And I was upset. I knew from my recent work with Dr. Wende Mix that with this pandemic there was going to be a lot of unseen individuals in need of many things during the Covid-19 crisis. So I worked with Dr. Mix and got these stats from the 2018 ACS:
In the 9 western New York counties 17.4% (+-0.4%) of households do not have access to the Internet. Excluding Monroe County, in the 8 western New York 18.6% (+-0.5%) of households do not have access to the Internet.
In New York State, less than 16%, or 15.6% (+0.1%), of all households have no access to the internet
In the U.S. less than 16%, or 15.8% (+0.1%), of all households have no access to the internet.
Many others can sew masks. You can ask my husband, I’m terrible at that. What I am passionate about is connecting people and educating about technology. So I used these numbers to start to tell our story:
“18.6% of WNY is without internet access. Without internet access, people can not access education, telemedicine, food delivery, employment, or state and federal updates. Internet access is a Social Determinant of Health. We created a Facebook Group called WiFiWarriors to connect people with mobile/static WiFi Hotspots to those that are in need of internet access, free of charge. WiFi Warriors is a collective of individuals who are working to improve WiFi access in many different ways. Working together (apart) we can improve access and possibly save lives.”
So I set to work and talked to others. I was connected with those who wanted to help. I created a Slack Channel, a Webpage, and a Facebook Group. I worked with others to set up a physical in person event.
And from our first on-site event on April 18th at West Side Community Center in Buffalo NY, we gained enough attention to get one more person to share information about their WiFi Access Points on our Facebook Group.
- Continue to spread awareness of the need of Internet Access and bring attention to Social Determinants of Health.
- Identify others who want to help and connect them via our Facebook Group
- Talk with more GIS friends to create surveys to connect those in need of WiFi to those that offer it, free of charge (inspirations 1 & 2)
- Educate others of resources available
- Offer assistance to other counties in the U.S. looking to build or improve upon our ideas here. We dare you. Do better! We want you to!!
- Remember nothing is impossible, and look up to companies like HealtheLink. They solved the problem of connecting insurances and medical records, if they can do that, we can connect people to WiFi in WNY!
- Share our stories of success
Creator of www.wnywifiwarriors.com
To Contact Kim Herrington, reach out via our Facebook Group: