With the COVID-19 pandemic transforming education into virtual learning, internet and computers are a must-have for students. Los Angeles Rams defensive lineman Sebastian Joseph-Day is donating laptops and internet hot spots to four Dreamer Scholar students in Watts from the I Have a Dream Foundation-Los Angeles (IHADLA).
“At the end of the day, everyone deserves a fair chance in life and that includes a good education regardless of your race, socioeconomic status or creed,” said Joseph-Day. “I am honored to play a small part in helping these students further their education.”
The I Have a Dream Foundation is an organization that helps children from marginalized communities from as early as their first-grade year until their high school years and beyond. They give the students holistic, comprehensive programming, according to IHADLA senior director of programs Janell Lewis.
“We then commit ourselves to those students until they graduate high school and into college,” Lewis said. “Our programming is a combination of academic support, social/emotional development, college and career readiness and health and wellness.”
The organization did a needs assessment for their students, they were grateful for Joseph-Day’s donation.
“We keep a list of all of our students’ needs,” Lewis said. “The number one need left that was unmet was the need for laptops for those high school students.”
The Rams have worked with IHADLA in the past, they visited the students and hosted an arts and craft session where they built replica football stadiums. The Rams also visited the USS Iowa Battleship with students from the organization and tackle Andrew Whitworth donated to IHADLA.
“We could not be more grateful for the thoughtfulness and the utility of the gift he provided to our kids,” said IHADLA CEO and executive director Pamela Miller. “This gift comes with immediate return on investment.”
The Dreamer Scholars were excited and appreciative of Joseph-Day’s foundation and all the resources. Because of the new laptop, Jennifer no longer has to share a laptop with her younger brother.
“I was doing most of my work from my phone, which was very frustrating,” Jennifer said. “Due to the pandemic, my parents were unable to purchase a computer at this time and this laptop will help take a burden away from them.”
Getting a hotspot will help Antonio and his sister with their academics. He desires to give back to IHADLA when he gets older.
“Things like helping the community changes that person’s life by a little and I want to strive to do something like that as well,” Antonio said. “[IHADLA] take us to lots of places like colleges to learn new things and they also give us mentors.”
Like Jennifer, Jesus was doing assignments on his phone. He noted that the programs IHADLA provides made him a smarter kid.
“The fact that L.A. Rams player Sebastian Joseph-Day made this donation means a lot,” Jesus said. “It’s coming from someone with more money to people that don’t have as much money.”
Aracely would have not considered attending college if it was not for IHADLA. She noted how she “will forever be grateful for” the donation.
“When I found out that I was receiving the new laptop, I was in shock,” Aracely said. “Having this laptop will help me with my academics and professional development by providing me with vital resources.”
The new laptop will help Michelle turn in her assignments on time.
“The fact that a Rams player donated the laptops to us is amazing and positively changed my life,” Michelle said. “It’s amazing how one can care so much about a student’s academics.”