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Sulphur Springs, Florida -- With computers and smartphones, it's hard for a lot of us to think of what it's like without having instant and constant access to the internet.

For some students in the Sulphur Springs neighborhood, that's reality, and it's what a group of philanthropists and volunteers are working together to tackle at Community Stepping Stones, a nonprofit arts and learning center in Sulphur Springs.

"Not one of our students had access in their homes to a computer," says Linda Saul-Sena, a former Tampa city councilwoman who is currently the Board Chair for Community Stepping Stones.

Husband and wife Dr. Kiran Patel and Dr. Pallavi Patel are donating 25 laptops to the center, along with WiFi hotspots so that students can use the web all across the campus. The nonprofit Computer Mentors is stepping in to install software and train the students on the computers.

"My grandson is five-years-old and he's already playing with a computer," Dr. Kiran Patel explains. "Here, you have 10, 12, and 13-year-olds who have no access to computers. So the need was tremendous; the value it brings and the changes it will bring is enormous, so for me it was natural."

Sarah McCartney is among the students who are grateful for the generosity. The 17-year-old says she doesn't have web access or a computer at home, and she'll now be able to use it for homework and to perfect college applications as she aspires to be a veterinary assistant.

"If I misspell something, it has spell check and I can correct it," she says.

Sites like Facebook aren't as important to her as starting her own website to sell fashion designs.

Community Stepping Stones hopes this will be the *key*...to bridging the digital divide

"This will give them the tools they need to be job ready and compete in the world," Saul-Sena says.

Follow 10 News Reporter Ashley Porter on twitter @ashleyreporter

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