After a new academic year began for students across the U.S., amid the corona virus pandemic, virtual learning in school districts presented challenges which ranged from lack of broadband connections and system outages to Chromebook shortages. One Virginia resident and nonprofit leader has been saving the day for families who were still in need of devices for online learning. Gerald Moore Sr., founder of Mission Fulfilled 2030, has been hitting the road to deliver technological gifts to help students who still do not have them. Although Moore’s primary nonprofit mission is to inspire, educate and activate 100,000 black boys in technology by 2030, he is currently serving a wide student population.
“When the pandemic first hit, and schools shut down in March, we were able to pivot from our live offerings and partner with the (Gerald Moore Online) Technology School for Black Boys and launch a successful online computer science program. This actually presented some challenges as we began to get feedback from parents in disadvantaged and underserved communities that they did not have the necessary equipment to participate,” Moore said. “Therefore, I began to think about ways that we could create a program to address this need as a future offering of Mission Fulfilled 2030. My thinking was to create a technology fund to support families and kids in need.” Moore’s timing was impeccable. When a second grade teacher working in Baltimore City contacted Moore, after being referred to him by one of his colleagues, he was able to lend a technological hand.
“I knew at that moment I needed to act swiftly to help these children and families. Therefore, I purchased 10 Chromebooks for the students in Mrs. Payne’s class,” Moore said. “Once I engaged those students, I realized that I needed to step it up and I created the “Chromebooks for Kids Tech Fund Challenge” fundraiser.”
Trivia Payne, a first year teacher who works at Sinclair Lane Elementary School, teaches 100 percent virtually, roughly six hours daily. The educator remarked that on the first day of school, she received calls about students not having a working laptop, or for some, no laptop at all at home.
“At the time there were at least 10 of my students out of 21 who did not have an appropriate device,” Payne said. “We received 10 Chromebooks, and our young guys received a signed copy of Mr. Moore’s book. All of the students received a gift bag with some other fun items. His (Moore’s) plan is to deliver printers and headphones to the students who received laptops.”
Payne explained that her students had excellent attendance, but the Chromebook gifts removed their challenge of not logging on properly, due to not having appropriate equipment.
Although Moore plans to return to Sinclair Lane Elementary School, the expanding national need for tools to participate in distance learning also led him to serve students beyond Baltimore. Students who reside in the District of Columbia, Prince George’s County and Texas have benefited from Moore’s “Chromebooks for Kids Tech Fund Challenge” fundraiser. After Moore provided the first ten chromebooks, he challenged his network. A federal government contractor was the first company to answer Moore’s call to action.
“Semper Valens Solutions is proud to support this very important and crucial mission. Being able to help bridge the technology gap in underserved communities at a time where so many students do not have access to technology, is critical for the success of virtual schooling. As we deal with unprecedented times, we all need to come together to support our communities in any way that we can,” a statement on the company’s website said. “The Chromebooks For Kids initiative is a great step in showing that support.”
To date, Moore’s nonprofit reportedly raised a little over $13,000 for this cause and has served 20 children in need. A second company recently matched Moore’s donation of 10 Chromebooks. Funding is still needed to support the initial challenge of serving 100 youth and additional students. “The cost to do this is approximately $35,000, but considering the need, this will be a program that we will continue to run as a goal of Mission Fulfilled 2030 to equip kids in need.” Moore said. “Therefore, we will continue to run this fundraiser year-round.”
To participate in the fundraiser, please visit www.missionfulfilled2030.org and click the donate button. Families in need with students in the U.S. who are in grades K-12 may apply for Chromebooks via a case for support form via http://bit.ly/mf2030-cfs.