Testimonial of Joseph Goodson – HTI Team Conversion/Courier - South East Raleigh Community Learning Center

Along with everyone across the world, this pandemic has drastically changed the lifestyle of my household. We all have different daily challenges, these are mine and how HTI has helped us.

I am the father of a set of amazing twins who work hard in school to get good grades and excel in all their subjects. When schools shutdown and instituted online studies, a sort of dread and fear arose in the pit of my stomach. My first thought was ‘how am I going to ensure that my twins get the education they need to meet the requirements to advance to the 7th grade’? The reason for the dread is, several years ago, due to ever increasing cable service costs I bit the bullet and discontinued cable TV and internet services to my household. Now, at this unexpected time, I needed internet more than ever before. Not for trivial use, but for the importance of my children’s education.

Well, the following week, I received information from my twins’ school that Charter Spectrum was offering free internet to homes with school age children K-12. And within a week, we had free home internet available for 60 days. Thankful for this service is an understatement. But as you would know, the concerns were not over.

Next up, electronic devices for my children to connect with their teachers, to receive and complete school work on time. Fortunately for us, during the fall of 2019 my twins were students in the SERCLC program and they were able to receive 2 ready to go laptops from HUBZONE. So in effect, the transitioning to a 'new normal' was seamless.

Now I had a dilemma which I hadn't even considered; I am self-employed as an UBER driver. With the social distancing, being in close quarters driving people to and fro, was no longer an employment option for my safety, passengers’ safety and that of my family. Prior to the state imposed ‘Stay at Home’ order I was experiencing income shortfalls. So with the government imposed shut down of public areas especially public libraries I had no way to file for unemployment.

Due to the laptop donation my twins received from HUBZONE I was able to file for unemployment benefits and other social programs which I wouldn't be able to access without a laptop. Due to the sheer number of people applying for assistance, there were times or days when I was constantly knocked out of the system trying to complete required filing steps. Often, I was up at 3am and 4am trying to get online during non-peak hours to file for assistance. The level of frustration was beyond explanation.

But above all, the ability to go online when needed is such a value-add that it's indescribable… I'd go so far as to say it's priceless! So, persistence pays off. Albeit sometimes inconvenient, but you strive onward realizing that being in the right place at the right time is a true blessing.

I personally appreciate HTI and have first-hand knowledge of what being connected truly encompasses in the life of a family as well as an individual adult living in this age of technology and the 'new normal'. So, thank you HTI, Debbie Boyd and all those who made this laptop donation to my family possible. Our amount of gratitude is immeasurable!