The Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation and Charlie Mack Cares presented West Philadelphia High School with a donation of 29 Apple laptops, an Apple desktop and a check covering the replacement costs for a previous set of computers which were stolen from the school last month.
Representing the Smiths, Charlie Mack Alston, local community activist and longtime friend of the “Fresh Prince,” read a statement from Will and Jada in which they expressed their passion for education and their desire to celebrate their gifts by giving back.
“The main reason is because I feel like it’s my responsibility,”remarked Alston. “Being blessed, being from the community, I think that God spared my life for me to do this, this job in particular. I came up in these streets and didn’t do everything right but I got on the right track. So, I feel like this is my payback to God sparing my life and just accepting the responsibility. For me, it’s the only reason why I even stay in the entertainment business. It’s to do this business. I’m like a Robin Hood.”
Officials from the School District of Philadelphia were also in attendance at the event. Edison Freire, the district’s Director of Educational Technology, spoke of the new security measures that have been taken to safeguard against any further thefts at the school. He also remarked that he believed that the students were deeply thankful for the new equipment.
“I think they’re very appreciative and understand that the community cares but not only that the community cares but that they ought to take responsibility for ownership. And ownership really means using technology to its maximum potential but also looking for it,” Freire said. “The unfortunate incident reminds us that we need to mindful and if the community steps up, we need to step up.”
Two students have been charged with stealing 60 computers from the school last month. Police recovered half of them, but the rest remain unaccounted for.
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