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C5 Youth Foundation of Southern California lands first place, largest cash prize at the national Kids Tech Summit

Virtual event - (April 25, 2021) – C5 Youth Foundation of Southern California (C5LA) earned top honors at the national Kids Tech Summit held Friday, April 22. The friendly competition was hosted by national nonprofit Connected Nation (CN) and sponsored by AT&T’s Connected Learning program.

The virtual event featured competitors from four student teams that represented nonprofits from across the country—spanning from New Jersey to Hawai’i. The student teams were challenged to find ways to use technology and their digital skills to create a project that helps others in their communities while narrowing the Digital Divide.

“We wanted those taking part to look at ways to enhance their out-of-the-classroom digital learning while also focusing on community service,”  said Heather Gate, Vice President, Digital Inclusion, CN. “The hope is that these projects will help students grow their digital skills in new ways, while also providing a strong foundation for creating positive and proactive change within their own communities.”

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C5 Youth Foundation of Southern California (C5LA) took 1st place at the 2022 National Kids Tech Summit

The  teams had to first earn their spot in the finals—submitting applications earlier this year to take part. All final four teams to take part in the Kids Tech Summit earned prize money to help make their projects a reality. This is how the judges placed the competitors:

  1. C5 Youth Foundation of Southern California located in Los Angeles, CA - $7,500
  2. Pi515 located in Des Moines, Iowa - $5,000
  3. Computers 4 People located in Hoboken, New Jersey - $3,500
  4. Kahauiki Village located in Honolulu, Hawai’i - $2,000

C5LA provides students with support and guidance through high school and into their first college years. The program requires a high level of commitment from students — even requiring them to attend summer and weekend programs. The organization’s community project is focused on introducing STEM to  younger populations.

“Our idea is to connect STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) to the interests that kids already have,”  Mariela Cruz-Suarez, who is a 10th grader at Abraham Lincoln High School, said about the project. “Before last summer, I didn’t know what STEM was or what to craft with it. But I’ve since learned that, as someone who is an aspiring entrepreneur, I use STEM to actually go from coming up with the idea to creating it myself.”

If you missed the competition, you can still watch it with your kids or students by heading to   You can also learn more about all the teams taking part by heading to

The Kids Tech Summit is a continuation of AT&T’s $10 million commitment to helping the nation’s most at-risk children. Through this commitment, AT&T and Connected Nation delivered hotspots to 150 schools and nonprofits across the country in 2021, which provided connectivity for more than 40,000 vulnerable students.

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About Us: Connected Nation celebrated 20 years of service in 2021. The national nonprofit’s mission is to improve lives by providing innovative solutions that expand access to and increase the adoption and use of broadband (high-speed internet) and its related technologies for all people. Everyone belongs in a Connected Nation.

For more information, please visit: and follow Connected Nation on Facebook and Twitter.