Nearly 50 New York City high school seniors, some living in temporary housing, received a new smartphone with an unlimited two year plan courtesy of the Brooklyn Nets, Verizon and Motorola.
The organizations came together to surprise the graduates with the new moto x4 smartphones and two years' worth of unlimited data this week.
A portion of the phones went to students graduating from the Department of Education programs Safe In My Brother's Arms (SIMBA) and All Sisters Evolving Together (ASET), which both serve high school students living in temporary housing.
The SIMBA and ASET students were surprised with the smartphones during a private tour of Barclays Center with Nets legend Albert King. The students also received a $150 voucher to redeem in the Nets' new retail store, Brooklyn Style.
BSE Global (the Nets parent company) Senior Vice President of Community Relations and Communications Mandy Gutmann said when the company established its partnership with Motorola, it made a commitment to provide technology access to New York City's most underserved student population.
"With this phone donation, we are ensuring that students from temporary housing can begin on equal footing with their peers as they pursue higher education or their careers," she said.
"Thank you to our partner, Verizon, for providing the plans needed so that these young adults can be more focused on their studies, rather than their bills."
During the 2019-20 school year, there were more than 111,000 homeless students attending district and charter schools in New York City. The ASET and SIMBA programs have served more than 1,500 of those students, and 100% of their current class of seniors are graduating high school with offers to attend college.
SIMBA/ASET Program Coordinator Christopher Moncrief said it had been a joy supporting the success of the students in the programs.
"Watching them as they advance through high school is an enlightening journey and I am always amazed at how they navigate handling their studies, caring for younger siblings and other tasks, while dealing with the impact of homelessness."