More than one hundred and sixty brand new Chromebooks were distributed to young people on Friday morning. New Jersey Community Development Corporation (NJCDC) conducted the giveaway at the Great Falls Youth Center.
“We’re doing this because as an organization, we always try and address the most critical needs here in the community that we serve. And there’s no doubt that kids without a digital device in today’s world are at a very distinct disadvantage,” said Bob Guarasci, head of the New Jersey Community Development Corporation.
Families were able to get their Chromebooks by driving in or walking up at the youth center on Front Street.
“I’m going to go home do some work and play games,” said I’lasia Alexander, 15, who picked up a Chromebook.
Alexander finished 8th grade and will be a high school freshman at Panther Academy in September. Her computer at home has a tendency of crashing. She said she has internet access at home.
Families can sign up for free internet through Altice, said Guarasci.
Guarasci said the 160 Chromebooks distributed on Friday brings the total given out since the start of the coronavirus pandemic to 400. His organization raised $100,000 that allowed him to purchase the Chromebooks for Paterson families.
The Daleo Family, Sterling National Bank, BD, Broadridge Financial Solutions, Lakeland Bank, Competitive Business Solutions, AvalonBay, Valley National Bank, M&T Bank, and individual donors contributed money to make the distribution possible.
“We don’t want to leave any child behind,” added mayor Andre Sayegh. But that’s exactly what has happened in Paterson since March.
The school district was completely unprepared for virtual instruction. School officials are preparing better for next school year. Officials plan to have all students equipped with a Chromebook before September.
“It’s really about ensuring that parents and students have every opportunity to continue their education unaffected by this pandemic,” said Guarasci.
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