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CEA Donates Laptops to Support Foster Youth During the Pandemic

Image: The California Earthquake Authority (CEA) team donating laptops to members
The California Earthquake Authority (CEA) team donating laptops to members of Foster Youth Education Fund (FYEF) on May 4. From left: Tobias Lake, FYEF; Susan Johnson, CEA; Larry Bolton, FYEF; Glenn Pomeroy, CEA; Douglas Briones, CEA.

Everyone is feeling the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in one way or another. As the days go by, we are noticing different needs within our community. During this pandemic, CEA shifted its gears and went beyond its messaging of earthquake preparedness to help our local former foster youth stay connected with their loved ones and continue with their educational responsibilities.

In a public announcement on April 13, Governor Gavin Newsom directed the state Government Operations Agency to utilize the State Surplus Property Program to identify laptops and cell phones that can be distributed to foster youth attending higher education. Even though CEA is a private instrumentality of the state, we pay attention to the Governor’s messages; and in this case, we had laptops! We quickly initiated an internal team effort to respond to the call to action.

Our CEO, Glenn Pomeroy, requested that our receptionist, Susan Johnson, identify a local foster youth organization that needed laptops. In the meantime, our IT team members, Douglas Briones and Wendy Bromhead, rushed to collect and carefully update our recently retired laptops.

“I have learned how incredibly important the foster care support system is for kids who are in a tough situation—kids who need the support of the loving and caring arms of the community,” said Pomeroy.

Image: ThinkPad laptops were donated to FYEF to help former foster youth
Twenty-five of our recently retired ThinkPad laptops were donated to FYEF to help former foster youth students at colleges in the Sacramento region.

After doing extensive research, placing many phone calls, and looking carefully into the Governor’s criteria, Susan recommended the Foster Youth Education Fund (FYEF) to be the beneficiary of the laptop donation. Since 2002, FYEF has offered support to former foster youth in the Sacramento region. Distributing laptops to college students is amongst the many resources they offer to help them achieve their higher education goals. And now, more than ever, they needed laptops!

“Foster youth have relied on school libraries and computer labs for internet access and so, with the campuses closed [due to COVID-19], they were at a major disadvantage.” said FYEF Board President, Larry Bolton.

On May 4, following the current social distancing protocols very closely, CEA team members personally handed off a total of twenty five laptops to Bolton and Tobias Lake, an exemplary former foster youth himself, who now works for FYEF (find out more about him here). Everyone wore masks, CEA made sure to provide hand sanitizers, gloves and wipes, and the handshakes were replaced by elbow bumps and hand waves.

Image: The CEA team helps load the laptops
The CEA team helps load the laptops. From left: Susan Johnson and Douglas Briones, California Earthquake Authority.

As part of their process, FYEF will get in touch with Los Rios community colleges (including Sacramento City College, Cosumnes River College, America River College, Folsom Lake College), Sacramento State and UC Davis to distribute the laptops to previously-identified former foster youth. We are happy to know that our newly retired laptops will be in good hands! And we look forward to continuing this effort too! We are so proud of the young men and women, who—despite this challenging health crisis and its related circumstances—are still committed to their educational progress and creating a positive future for their community.

If you would like to donate your laptop, feel free to contact FYEF.

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