Monday, April 13, 2020

Mayor Turner partners with the Russell Westbrook Why Not? Foundation and Comp-U-Dopt to help close digital divide for students during COVID-19 health crisis

In response to the challenges of the digital divide and school closures caused by the COVID-19 public health crisis, Houston Rockets star, Russell Westbrook, and his nonprofit organization, the Russell Westbrook Why Not? Foundation announced a partnership with the City of Houston and Comp-U-Dopt. 

On Monday, April 13, Westbrook virtually joined a press conference hosted by Mayor Turner and Colin Dempsey, Comp-U-Dopt executive director, to announce that his foundation will provide 650 computers to families with children who need access to online resources. 

On March 15, the Texas Education Agency closed schools around the state in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and later announced that schools would remain closed through May 4, 2020. School districts transitioned to providing educational lessons via distance learning or digital platforms. However, many students lack the resources at-home to access the learning materials.
Since March 18, Comp-U-Dopt has distributed nearly 1,000 computers to Houston families through the Computer Drive-Thru. The program allows families to register for a computer lottery through a website. If selected, the families drive through the Comp-U-Dopt warehouse to receive a free computer. According to recent studies, 83 percent of computer recipients live in households earning less than $35,000 annually, and most reside in Mayor Turner's Complete Communities neighborhoods. 

The Mayor's Office of Education is working closely with the Why Not? Foundation and Comp-U-Dopt to ensure that school children have the tools they need to succeed.
"Russell Westbrook proves why he is a champion on and off the court. This donation will be a game-changer for many students and their families coping with the impact of the COVID-19 crisis," Mayor Sylvester Turner said. "The generous contribution from the Russell Westbrook Why Not? Foundation will help young people stay focused on their education at home and until they can return to their classroom."
"The generous gift from the Russell Westbrook Why Not? Foundation will allow us to significantly increase our inventory and ensure we can to continue to close the gap for Houston families most in need," says Colin Dempsey, Executive Director | Houston & Galveston for Comp-U-Dopt. "1 in 3 economically disadvantaged students in the Houston area lack access to a computer at home. With the outbreak of COVID19 and the closure of schools, there is an immediate need to get more computers to students and families without access at home."
Comp-U-Dopt is responding to this need not only in Houston but also working to replicate their model in Chicago, DC, Dallas, New Orleans, and San Antonio.