The Seattle Seahawks and Amazon are partnering to help address the challenges students in the community are facing as they continue remote learning.
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many issues for students coming from low-income communities, as remote learning is even more difficult when there is no access to necessary resources (high-speed internet, computers, etc.). The Renton School District leadership has shared that the two biggest challenges facing students learning remotely are internet connectivity and student morale – which are even more prominent in low-income households.
To help alleviate these challenges, the Seahawks and Amazon are addressing students' needs in the Renton School District, which is home to the Seahawks' training facilities and close to Amazon's Puget Sound headquarters. Many Seahawks players, staff members and Amazon employees live in the district, too.
Amazon is contributing $100,000 to the Digital Equity Initiative that will directly help Renton students in need of reliable internet connectivity. This will ensure that they can participate in remote learning, regardless of their financial situation. The Seahawks supported the initiative back in September, donating $120,000 to launch the fund.
To boost student morale, on December 1, the Seahawks and Amazon hosted a virtual event for Renton High School students to hear from a diverse group about navigating obstacles in school and careers. Current and former Seahawks K.J. Wright, Ben Obomanu and Jordan Babineaux, along with Amazon Web Services senior manager Brandon Middleton were among the panelists for the event.
Teacher and staff members for Renton schools were also surprised on Dec. 2 with a virtual visit from Seahawks Dancers and Blitz, who provided some words of encouragement and appreciation for their work so far amidst the challenge of schooling in 2020.
For Amazon, this latest effort furthers their commitment to addressing the unique needs of students during this unprecedented time. Amazon recently partnered with the Seattle School District to provide 8,200 laptops to families in the spring, closing the gap for students who didn't have a device to access remote learning. Similarly to what was done in Renton, this act closed the gap for students that didn't have an equal chance during remote learning. They also established the “Right Now Needs Fund” in Seattle and Bellevue, which helps families in the public school district meet urgent basic needs such as food, rent or healthcare.
Amazon and the Seahawks continue to assist as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on. These latest acts are part of an ongoing effort to give back to the nearby community.