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Hundreds of Temple, Belton ISD students given home computers to 'Bridge the Gap' in education

Bridging the Gap is an effort of multiple organizations to combat educational inequality by making sure families have access to technology at home.

TEMPLE, Texas — Hundreds of students and their families in the Temple and Belton independent school districts were given the gift of a home computer Saturday in hopes of bridging the gap in educational opportunities.

For some of the families, these are the first home computers they've ever had.

"This means the world to us," said Shawana Fisher, who received a computer to help her son Cornelius Evans continue to thrive in school. "He has been using my cellphone for school work. Now, he can get all of homework done and turned in and get his grades up."

Bridging the Gap is an effort of multiple organizations, including PC's for People, the United Way of Central Texas, Mobile Beacon, TISD and BISD.

The project's goal is to combat educational inequality make sure families have access to affordable technology.

"We know that there are a lot of barriers," Caitlin Nelson with Bridging the Gap said. "You can't apply for a job without being online. You can't do homework. Everything is so internet-based, and if you don't have that that's such a disadvantage."

"The hope and the goal is to make kids super, super successful in school," Veshell Greene of the United Way of Central Texas said.

Evans said having a computer at home is a game changer for him as he thinks about going to college.

"I want to be a doctor here in Temple or an actor in Los Angeles," Evans said. "Sometimes when I'm behind and missing assignments, I'll actually get to work on them at home where it's a quiet space, and I won't have anybody, 'Oh do this, do that. I can actually work."

Greene said the computers open opportunities in life and students need as many tools at their disposal as possible.

"When these kids go from school where they have access to computer or internet, and they go home and they don't have access to it... it just doesn't give them a level playing field," Greene said.

Greene said students while students could get by without the program, it's important to understand the impact having technology available at home has on students.

"They will survive, it'll just be a little bit harder," Greene said. "We just want to make it a little but easier for the students."

Nelson said the computers given away were all recycled from businesses and have been refurbished.