HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – When the pandemic began, people were lining up to help digitally-challenged students, like the Hillsborough Education Foundation, which provided free WiFi cards.
Tampa’s Computer Mentors Program provided free computers to families at Potter Elementary School. It was all an effort to fix the constant problem of digital inequity.
“We did not realize in the organization that we had so many young men that needed laptops,” said Ross Anderson, the head of Hillsborough’s Men of Vision program.
Men of Vision is a mentoring group for young men and now it’s been taking digital differences into its own hands.
Although the Coca-Cola Company recently gave the group laptops, it wasn’t enough for everyone. So they’ve launched a fundraising effort to help get the rest of the guys in the program a laptop.
“We don’t want any student to be left behind,” Anderson said.
Students like Kyron DeFreites received a laptop from Coca Cola. Before getting it, four people in his household used the same computer. He said it was tough.
“It was extremely difficult because like I said, it was a family computer so you had to wait for one person to do something and then you had an assignment due this time,” DeFreites said.
That’s why he’s determined to help raise $10,000 to arm the rest of his group with reliable computers.
The goal is to provide 25 to 30 laptops, tablets, and the necessary books and supplies students may need.
Anderson said it’s really a sign of the times.
“We said let’s go ahead and get ahead of this… because we know we’re going to have more young men,” he said.
If you are interested in helping, you can donate to the group’s GoFundMe page or you can donate money to the group’s Cash App profile, $menofvision.