RIT Partners with Sprint Foundation to Sponsor Outreach Programs

Two programs will focus on the nation’s more than 28,000 deaf and hard-of-hearing students in grades 6 through 9.

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More than 28,000 deaf and hard-of-hearing students in grades 6 through 9 can benefit from two programs offered by Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf through the generous three-year commitment by the Sprint Foundation of $150,000 to a new initiative.

The new initiative, known as “Reaching Out to Rising Stars,” involves two programs: “Steps to Success” and MATHCOUNTS®.

Steps to Success is an RIT/NTID summer program for deaf and hard-of-hearing middle school African-American, Latino-American and Native American students and their parents, emphasizing academic preparation, career possibilities and socialization opportunities.

MATHCOUNTS® is a national competition that motivates middle school children to achieve in the area of math and enriches math skills development.

Both programs will be enhanced by a distance learning component, using existing technology in RIT/NTID’s Sprint Experimental Distance Learning/Access Demonstration Lab. The lab was created in the former NTID Learning Center Smart Classroom through a prior $50,000 grant from the Sprint Foundation. Distance learning will include video-conferencing and support for parents of Steps participants, coaches of MATHCOUNTS® participants and others.

“The Sprint Foundation is proud to support Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf,” said Ralph Reid, executive director – Sprint Foundation and vice president – Corporate Social Responsibility. “Sprint’s commitment to children doesn’t stop at traditional education, but extends to all children regardless of race, religion or physical challenge. It is our hope that the support of the Sprint Foundation provides the necessary means by which these middle school children will find their paths to success.”

“We are grateful to the Sprint Foundation and their continued commitment to helping RIT provide innovative educational opportunities to young deaf and hard-of-hearing students,” said Dr. T. Alan Hurwitz, RIT vice president for NTID and CEO/dean of NTID. “By showing middle school children throughout the country that they can achieve and succeed, we open new doors of possibilities for them and their families. We thank the Sprint Foundation for sharing this vision and for partnering with us to make it happen.”

About the Sprint Foundation

Since its establishment in 1989, the Sprint Foundation has provided more than $93 million to community organizations across the country with a special emphasis on those supporting education, youth development, and arts and culture. Through direct grants and a robust matching-gifts program for employees and retirees, the Sprint Foundation creatively and thoughtfully delivers Sprint Nextel's commitment to championing the communities where Sprint Nextel customers and employees live.

About Rochester Institute of Technology

Rochester Institute of Technology is internationally recognized as a leader in computing, engineering, imaging technology, fine and applied arts, and for providing unparalleled support services for students with hearing loss. RIT is home to the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, where more than 1,100 students with hearing loss from around the world study, live, and socialize with 14,700 hearing students on RIT’s Rochester, N.Y., campus. U.S. News and World Report has consistently ranked RIT among the nation’s leading comprehensive universities.