Monday, August 24 2015 07:16

San Jose Underprivileged Students Back to School, Receive New Laptop as Gift River of Life Foundation Donates 25 Brand-New Laptops

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SANTA CLARA, CA - In this digital era, schools are challenged to make greater use of computers and the Internet in their curricula, but unfortunately, not every student has the same access to it. As a result, a digital divide has been created and is ever widening.  

Since the end of June, River of Life Foundation (ROLF) has been working on its annual "Free Laptop for Low Income Students" program in collaboration with Gardner Family Care Corporation in San Jose. Together they reached out to low income families in South Bay who have kids in Grade 6-12 and have no laptop computer at home.

In about a month, social workers at Gardner helped identify the families in need, screen for their eligibility and refer them to ROLF. Then ROLF completed the verification process and confirmed 25 families as this year's free laptop recipients.

Most of these families are single-parent or single-income with two to five children.  Many of them live under the federal poverty level and rely on social benefits for daily necessities - a computer simply means a luxury to them. When these middle school or high school kids need a computer for school work, their only option would be going to public library to use the free computer kiosks. However, many parents are able to take them to the public library due to long working hours and limited transportation. In long term, it does have a negative impact on the kids’ academic progress.

ROLF president Steve Wang explained that the goal of the Free Laptop Program is to bridge the digital divide and provide better learning resources for underprivileged students so that they might have a chance to improve their future lives through education.

This is the third year in a row that ROLF organizes the Free Laptop Program. ROLF is giving away brand-new laptops- the HP Stream 13 model. Not only they are well-designed and lightweight, they are equipped with 13.3 inches HD display monitor, 32GB hard drive storage, 2.16 GHz Intel Celeron Processor and other competitive specifications. Most importantly, they come with Windows 8.1 and Microsoft Office 365, satisfying students' general need for homework.

This is the very first time ROLF works with the San Jose-based Gardner Family Care Corporation. Located near downtown San Jose, Gardner has provided high quality and comprehensive health care, including medical, dental, vision, counseling, and substance abuse services to low income families in Santa Clara County for the last five decades.  Social workers at Gardner care for families at risk and refer them to resources in the community according to their particular needs. 

ROLF is grateful and honored to have an opportunity to work with social service providers in the Bay Area, bringing love and care to the many forgotten families.  We believe that we can bring a bigger impact to our community by uniting together.

ROLF has hosted a special event on August 21, 4 pm at River of Life Christian Church in Santa Clara, where the laptops were presented to the recipient families. These laptops are going to be the best gift for the youngsters as the new school year emerges. Hopefully it will also be a great encouragement to them. 

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Thursday, December 11 2014 06:36

ROLF offers Free Laptops to Low Income Students in Santa Clara County

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SANTA CLARA, CA - Computers have now become an essential tool for school students today. In the prosperous Silicon Valley, most households have more than one computer at home. However, there are many low income families who are struggling with their day-to-day lives, and having a computer means a luxury to them.

In 2013, River of Life Foundation (ROLF) has spearheaded a "Free Laptop for Low Income Students" program. In collaboration with Acer Computer, ROLF has distributed free laptops to 28 high school students from low income households in Santa Clara County. This year, ROLF has decided to continue this meaningful campaign to bless the Bay Area community.

Since September, ROLF has started the promotion of the Free Laptop Program at its Food Pantry, targeting low income families who have kids in Grade 6-12 and have no computer at home. In over one month's time, ROLF volunteers conducted personal interviews with the applicants in order to access their eligibility. Finally, 16 families were identified as this year's free laptop recipients.

These recipient families typically have one to two kids in junior high or high school. They have no computer at home. When these children need a computer to complete their assignments or research on the internet, their only option would be going to public library to use the free computer kiosks. Without an easy access to computers, they become inefficient in their learning process. During the application interview, many parents regretted that they could not afford to provide the resources needed for the education of their children though they understood its importance. That is where ROLF comes in to provide for their insufficiency.

Last year, the free laptops given away were previously used by Acer Computers for internal testing. They were in good condition but were used products. This year, however, the recipients are going to receive brand new laptops purchased by ROLF. These laptops are HP Stream 13 model. Not only they are well-designed and lightweight, they are equipped with 13.3 inches HD display monitor, 32GB hard drive storage, 2.16 GHz Intel Celeron Processor and other competitive specifications. Most importantly, they come with Windows 8.1 and Microsoft Office 365, satisfying students' general need for homework.

In the past 7 years, ROLF has reached out to some 800 low income households in Santa Clara zip codes 95054, 95051 and 95050 through its Food Pantry service, and that is how ROLF realizes the reality and struggles these families are facing in their daily lives.

ROLF President Steve Wang believes that education is the key to end the generational poverty in a family. The parents in low income families usually have low educational level or have no professional skills, so they could not find a stable job or be reasonably paid. If their next generations are given the resources and opportunity for good education, it would be an indirect but long-term support to these families.

ROLF has hosted a special event on December 9, 4:30 pm at River of Life Christian Church in Santa Clara, where the free laptops were presented to the recipient families, sharing joy and cheers with these young students.

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