Virginia Beach, June 8, 2017: STOP Inc. is closing the gap on digital disparity with it’s new Technology Bus Initiative. An unveiling of the custom designed bus will take place on Friday, June 23, 2017 from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. at STOP Headquarters, located at Airport Executive Center, 5700 Thurston Avenue, Suite 101, Virginia Beach, VA 23455.
The Agency, in collaboration with Google, will provide free, computer programming workshops and volunteer mentoring to increase the knowledge, exposure, and opportunities for African American youth in the field of computer technology.
The idea of this initiative was born in 2014. While attending a conference on Volunteerism, Michelle E. Bryant, Vice President of Management Support and Special Projects visited the Google vendor booth to discuss technology initiatives for community action agencies. Her conversation with the representative revealed exciting news about an upcoming initiative to address the lack of representation of African American males in the computer programming industry. From that meeting, Ms. Bryant quickly engaged STOP’s President and CEO, Mrs. Regina P. Lawrence to pursue the vision.
STOP’s new and soon-to-be custom-designed bus is outfitted with 8 computer stations that are connected to high-speed Internet via satellite. The agency will serve students from elementary school through high school graduation.
The bus will travel weekly to each jurisdiction that STOP serves, focusing on the rural, underserved or Title 1 populations first. Volunteers will conduct one hour training sessions in computer programing, maintenance and repair. The goal is to help students build the technical proficiency necessary to strive in the marketplace.
Ms. Bryant and her team are looking forward to providing about 100 hours of instruction to at least 50 students a year. The Agency’s vision doesn’t just stop with computer training. STOP has paired with Food Lion and Farm Fresh grocery stores to provide healthy snacks to the students. ECPI University has offered volunteer trainers, mentors, and career planning and guidance to graduating seniors who will attend their college.
Through the work of this initiative, STOP Inc. will continue its’ 50-year mission of “Supporting Transformational Opportunities for People”. The technology bus momentum will evolve with major plans to implement a robotics club after one year of successful operation. To RSVP for this event, go to www.stoptechbus.eventbrite.com.