The Real Estate Alliance of Livermore (REAL) has once again launched its fundraising event to support schools in Livermore, with this year's online event geared toward providing local students with access to a laptop and the internet -- both mandatory tools in today's coronavirus learning environment.
Adapting to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, this year's fundraiser was held online in the appearance of a wedding-registry styled website where contributors could specify how many Chromebooks, internet access and hot spots or other items they wanted to purchase.
"Every year we host a fundraiser to support the Livermore school district," REAL chairperson Barbara Benotto said in a statement.
"When we spoke with the school board this spring, we learned that the district loaned out over 3,000 Chromebooks to students in need for distance learning and it was still 80 laptops short. It became clear to us that our fundraising should be focused on giving all students equal access to technology," she added.
The REAL team also set up a "Dream Big School Drive" online silent auction, which consisted of more than a dozen local businesses and Bay East Association of Realtors members donating items to auction off. Items donated include airplane and helicopter rides, a fancy purse with accessories, a golf adventure and a Tahoe get-away.
"This year's goal to raise $25,000 to support student technology needs came at the perfect time to keep our students and teachers connected during distance learning," Philomena Rambo, spokesperson for the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District, said in a statement. "We are able to purchase hotspots for students without internet access, as well as Chromebooks and headsets for students who need to borrow devices to learn at home."
"Shout out to Barbara Benotto and her team for their enthusiasm and leadership that encouraged so many donations from the REAL and Livermore community," Rambo added. "Over the past few years, they have raised money to outfit new teacher's classrooms, fill student backpacks, provide a literacy enrichment program, and support the Livermore Shakespeare Festival's So Wise So Young program in our second grade classrooms. LVJUSD has a true partner in REAL."