Amidst the chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic comes an inspirational story of giving that brings hope to students and teachers of the small, rural Redwood Elementary School in Northern California.
“For all the students at Redwood Elementary School, and across the nation, we can do so much when we work on a common cause and make this world a better place. We can really change things,” said Greg Holmes, former elementary school teacher and former Vice President of Worldwide Sales for Zoom.
Holmes is the seed donor for the new Redwood School Technology Fund created by Wild Rivers Community to quickly provide devices and related technology to students so they could attend classes remotely and stay connected to their teachers, classmates and their school.
The fund was spearheaded this summer by Redwood School teacher Debi Long who, after reaching out to Holmes, received a $10,000 donation from him to launch the fund. There about 540 students enrolled in the school, half of which come from low-income households.
“When we left school in March, all my kids did not have access to the internet or devices. They couldn’t be a part of their class,” Long said. “My one wish for this year is for my students to have a device. My students need them to connect to me and my classroom, and the other kids.”
Long-term, the fund will support the creation of a “STEAM” Lab for Redwood students to explore science, technology, engineering, art and math concepts. There is space at the school for the lab, but little funding to create and supply it, said Long.
“Our kids are eager to learn in an engaging environment, and we really want to foster that drive and curiosity by creating a STEAM lab,” she said.