Hope-U Foundation is helping Tidewater Community College students stay in school by proving laptops for those who don’t have access to needed technology for remote learning.
“We have many students who are below the poverty level and this pandemic has magnified their needs,” said Thomas Chatman Jr., coordinator for First Year Success at the Norfolk Campus. “Many of these students didn’t have computers, so the transition to remote learning put them at a huge disadvantage.”
Hope-U is a nonprofit organization formed for the sole purpose of helping youth in the Hampton Roads area.
When Nick Gabriel started the organization, his goal was to help disconnected youth between the ages of 16-24, which includes transitioning foster youth, homeless or underemployed youth.
When COVID-19 hit, Hope-U donated 26 Chromebooks to students at TCC’s Norfolk Campus.
The computer donation is part of an overall effort to reach youth in need. Hope-U works to end homelessness, hunger and unemployment for young people in Hampton Roads. Gabriel’s goal is to help clients achieve independence and sustainable employment through a reliable support system.
“We can do our part to mitigate the damage and level the playing field for those who are trying to get ahead,” Gabriel said. “Increasing earning potential is key to rising out of poverty. We can’t let COVID stop that.”
TCC students sent shoutouts to Hope-U for the help.
“Before I received the laptop, I was struggling with completing my photography class. With the laptop, I was able to pass the class with a B. I can do graphics, Photoshop and Zoom calls with ease,” said student Randell Barkley. “The director came out on a rainy day, and it was such a blessing!”
Student Alexander Reap added, “Given the pandemic, it became even harder to complete assignments, as my access to technology was limited, and I was doing my work on my phone. But now, with my computer, I completed the semester with a 4.0 GPA.”
“It takes a village to make a change,” Gabriel said. “We are that village.”