As the Coronavirus pandemic picked up steam in early Spring 2020, On Point for College Utica Director Kevin Marken knew that the inevitable move to remote learning would be disastrous for many of their students, who often have limited access to computers. Luckily, the UpMobility Foundation was able to help On Point provide students with over 200 laptops—and they aren't done giving them out yet.
On Point for College, which has worked to help underprivileged students get into and stay in college since 1999, quickly expanded their long-running loaner laptop program, with a focus on students who were about to start college. By early April, On Point was distributing refurbished laptops (some equipped with new hard drives) that feature anti-virus software as well as an administrative portal that is able to help with students tech-support questions. Additionally, On Point distributed thumb drives to students. The City of Utica as well as Utica College have stepped up to provide wi-fi access.
The impact of these laptops on the greater community is just beginning to be felt. Kevin Marken recounted how one recipient, a refugee from Somalia, thanked him for her laptop, saying that it enabled her five siblings to get help with their homework and gave her parents a way to look for work. UpMobility Foundation recognizes the ability of technology to empower not only students but entire families. We look forward to continuing to help On Point for College uplift students and their families as we continue to support the causes of advancing education as well as community building.