Computers for Students: Stepping Up During the Pandemic

The Robert and Susan Kozlowski L.I.F.T. Foundation continues to act during times of need! 2020 brought a Pandemic that turned in-class learning upside down with students needing to work remotely.  The educational disparities in access to a quality education are more evident than ever before. Students needed internet access to learn. Students needed laptop computers or they had no way to “be in class” on this new now familiar tool of “Zoom” and “Adobe Connect”. We reached out to see how we could help by providing a limited number of computers for students who did not have access to a borrowed computer or one of their own as seniors about to embark on their college careers.  

Recent high school graduates who now would be starting their college journey submitted personal essays introducing themselves, sharing their stories of how a computer would allow them to have an equitable opportunity to a quality education during these extraordinary times. Five students were awarded Apple MacBook Air computers with cases and Apple Care totaling almost $6000.00 commitment to these students.  Here are their stories.

Jonathan Guillen is attending the University of California, Riverside but will need to live at home until after the Pandemic.  Only one laptop computer is shared amongst two sisters and an older brother.  The computer is actually his brother’s as he is in college already, so although it is shared Jonathan found himself for the years of high school doing his homework late at night.  If the assignment was due early, he had to use his phone to actually do his work. He shows resiliency when faced with the challenges including a lack of tools to achieve!  We were so honored to award Jonathan a new computer and case so now he can do his best!

Steven Cardenas wanted to attend college but felt it was out of his reach with the costs of college and needed resources, like a computer.  He is a proud Chicano and admires his Mexican roots. His parents work two to three jobs.  Since he was fifteen he has gone to work with his Dad to help. He has ever owned a computer, but with the thought of college knew he must have one to achieve.  Now Steven has a MacBook Air computer to allow his dreams for himself and his family to come true. 

Christopher Saavedra-Mendez is going to Middlebury College on an academic scholarship, but the scholarship did not include a computer.  He is the oldest of three with only an older desktop amongst them all.  Christopher had to improvise to get his work done so he would use his phone to type essays and do projects.  Then in school he would edit his work using a school computer.  He would do as much homework as possible at school working through lunch, after and before school. With the Pandemic, it actually was a little easier because he could borrow a computer from school to use at home during the academic year.  Even with these challenges Christopher academically excelled and is at Middlebury College earning a laptop computer of his own. 

Korey Hammond is going to Cal State Dominquez Hills.  Losing his mom at the young age of twelve to a brain tumor he has learned to live up to his own potential in honor of her love for him and his love for her. He went through high school never having a computer. He was resourceful, staying after school and using the Chromebook there. He learned to ask for help from his classmates and they stepped up and assisted. Now Korey can pass it forward and help others because he has his very own computer for the first time ever. 

Our final recipient of an Apple MacBook Air Computer is Jayden Cato. He is attending Santa Monica College. His passion is theater and music, loving to play piano. During middle school and high school, he used a tablet to do his homework, but during the Pandemic he borrowed a computer from his high school.  With the tablet, he never could store reports because it did not have a hard dive.  He did not have access to Power Point, copy links and could not upload information.  Jayden is at Santa Monica College awarded a laptop computer, so he can have the opportunity to explore music and all else that inspires him. 

The Robert and Susan Kozlowski L.I.F.T. Foundation hopes to provide future opportunities for students to be awarded laptop computers. TOOLS FOR SUCCESS helps to LIFT students to equitable opportunities!