With schools closed indefinitely across the nation due to the coronavirus pandemic, students are turning to online classes to get the year completed. Not every student has the same access to technology, however, so Houston Rockets star Russell Westbrook is doing what he can to make sure kids are set up to succeed.
In collaboration with with his Why Not? Foundation and Comp-U-Dopt, a nonprofit providing technology and education to underserved youth in the Houston and Galveston area, Westbrook will purchase and donate 650 laptops to help students and families who may not be able to afford one otherwise.
Westbrook spoke about the importance of equal access to opportunity and his passion for helping the students of Houston in a press conference with the city's mayor, Sylvester Turner:
"I'm extremely excited to be able to collaborate with Comp-U-Dopt and find ways to be able to impact the youth immediately. It's something that I'm very, very passionate about through my foundation, and I'm just trying to find a way — especially now — to be able to bridge the gap, and give kids access to another way of learning, through computers. This allows them to be able to continue their education, especially from home. I'm happy to be a part of it."
The transition to online learning is difficult already for students and teachers, so Westbrook and company are trying to make sure there are no added difficulties, such as no access to the learning platform.
Comp-U-Dopt has been delivering computers to families in the area, and out of the 1,000 donated so far they say 83% go to households with incomes less than $35,000 a year. Comp-U-Domp thanked Westbrook for helping them achieve their goal to make sure every student has what they need going forward.
"The generous gift will allow us to significantly increase our inventory and ensure we can to continue to close the gap for Houston families most in need," Executive Director Colin Dempsey said,
According to the US Census, around 9% of homes in the city's 10 biggest school districts do not have a computer, totaling 142,650. The Houston Chronicle reports that when it comes to homes without internet access, that number is doubled. That obviously provides a major issue for these students with the online learning curriculum that has been put it place due to the pandemic.
Westbrook is not just giving back to Houston. He also recently made a donation to help those in Los Angeles, his hometown, as well.