USA Today August 16, 2000
Internships Close Digital Divide
"Sharifa Wilson, mayor of East Palo Alto, population 26,000, hopes that a high school internship program, inspired by President Clinton and run by Silicon Valley's Homestead.com, will change that.
When Clinton visited the Valley in April, Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina introduced a college scholarship and internship program. Fiorina said no when she was asked whether HP had an internship program for high-schoolers, Wilson recalls. ''The president literally looked at me and said, 'Mayor, somebody needs to do something about this,' " Wilson says. "I took that very seriously."
She called on Justin Kitch, the 28-year-old CEO of Homestead, whom she knew from his community volunteer days as a Stanford student. She persuaded Kitch to launch a student intern project at Homestead, dubbed Homestretch, to teach students real skills and serve as a role model for Silicon Valley companies."
San Francisco Chronicle September 12, 2000
High-Tech Detour by Julie Lynem
Sharifa Wilson, the mayor of East Palo Alto, said minority students participating in Homestretch, the internship program she helped found, understand the value of a higher education. High school students in the summer program learn how to design Web pages, receive SAT preparation and get support from mentors at Homestead.com, an Internet content provider in Menlo Park.
"We're showing them how to find the right school, how to apply to college and what college life is all about,'' Wilson said. ``It's not about getting skills for the summer so you can come back here and get a job.''
Newsweek September 18, 2000
Tomorrowland, Today by Karen Breslau
Highway 101 between San Jose and San Francisco is the San Andreas Fault of the digital divide. On one side is East Palo Alto, a predominantly black and Hispanic community where the median income is $18,000 a year. On the other, within walking distance, is money-drenched Palo Alto, median income $76,000. Like many East Palo Alto residents, Jenny Torres, 17, was working her way through high school as a "hasher" in a Stanford dining hall. Then, last summer, Mayor Sharifa Wilson helped Torres land a paid internship at Homestead.com, a nearby Web-design company. "When I tell my friends I'm working at a dot-com they're like, 'What?' " says Torres. "Almost everyone else I know does retail or food service."